Not exactly the publicity Novo wanted.

Not exactly the publicity Novo wanted.

Although there is a saying in Hollywood that any publicity is good publicity, Diabetic Investor isn’t quite sure that Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) feels this way given all the adverse publicity they have received when they signed celebrity chef Paula Deen to a $5 million endorsement deal. The controversy wasn’t over the $5 million or that Ms. Deen has become wealthy promoting recipes that contribute to the obesity epidemic, to Diabetic Investor the controversy centered on the fact that Ms. Deen hide the fact that she had diabetes for three years, continued to promote unhealthy recipes until she had and endorsement deal with Novo Nordisk and all of a sudden she came out of the diabetes closet.

This controversy became a hot topic not just on diabetes blogs but across the spectrum of blogs that track celebrities.  Soon Paula Deen became the gift that kept on giving as her publicist quit and then Ms. Deen gave a series of interviews desperately trying to explain why she isn’t the hypocrite that everyone thinks she is. Interviews which backfired as not only did she look more and more like a hypocrite but a stupid hypocrite to boot.  At one point this stupidity reached new heights when Ms. Deen was quoted as saying that she felt getting diabetes was a “blessing.”

Now just when everyone thought this controversy was going away news comes from our friends at Pharmalot ( that Ms. Deen is now being sued by a former employee. According to story posted today; “A lawsuit filed by a former Deen employee accuses her and her brother, Bubba, of racism and sexism. And the allegations are so sensational – the use of the ‘N’ word; derogatory remarks about African-Americans and Jews; sexual harassment and profanity in the workplace – that the drug maker may find itself having to defend its decision to hire Deen all over again.”

Diabetic Investor highly recommends reading the entire article as it makes for excellent reading and as the author notes provides another reason for Novo Nordisk to distance themselves from Ms. Deen as quickly as possible; something Diabetic Investor recommended when this controversy first came to light.

As we have noted before at one time Novo Nordisk was the premiere global diabetes company, not just by providing excellent products but through their efforts to help patients with diabetes. However times have changed at Novo and this company which was once held in high regard is quickly becoming the laughingstock of the diabetes world. Something illustrated when Ambre Morely, associate director of product communications at Novo Nordisk stated “Paula Deen is not the diabetes poster child. She’s an everyday person with type 2 diabetes who struggles with it and is learning about it.  She’s going to take the steps and make the changes to manage her diabetes.”

This statement comes after one of Ms. Deen many interviews in which she states that she sometimes checks her glucose levels and was caught on tape eating a nice juicy cheeseburger and fries. (Diabetic Investor would recommend searching through the archives section of the web site as we have a host of postings on this controversy.) And Diabetic Investor is still trying to figure just how many everyday people with diabetes get paid $5 million to endorse a diabetes drug.

Even if Novo now decides it’s time to part company with Ms. Deen the damage to their reputation will not be repaired. Frankly the company has handled this situation badly from the start and honestly looks as bad, or worse than, Ms. Deen and that’s really saying something given how badly Ms. Deen has come off here. The company, like Ms. Deen, has bastardized themselves selling their souls to sell a few more Victoza prescriptions.  The company is also looking pretty foolish hiring Ms. Deen in the first place and makes one wonder if the inmates are now running the asylum.