Drug maker Novo Nordisk announced it was distancing itself from Southern cookbook author Paula Deen after she admitted using racist remarks and downplaying its offensive nature. The former Food Network star, known for her fattening and fried dishes, was serving as a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk’s Type 2 diabetes drug Victoza after admitting last year that she had been diagnosed with the chronic disease two years prior.
Deen had built an empire on her celebrity, spinning relationships with companies such as Target, Smithfield Meats, and Wal-Mart. However, since news of her comments went viral, Deen’s multimillion-dollar merchandise and media empire has been unraveling.
Food Network was the first to cut ties with the celebrity, followed by Smithfield Meats. Now, Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot have taken steps to distance themselves from Deen. Caesars Entertainment has also announced that Paula Deen’s name will be removed from four buffet restaurants owned by the company.
It is no surprise that Novo Nordisk would jump on the “ban Paula Deen” bandwagon. The company has put a lot of resources into corporate diversity and brings diabetes testing and awareness to events that target the African American community. Keeping a partnership with Deen would serve little good and would likely hurt sales of the drug they are trying to promote.
Victoza is among a class of type 2 diabets drugs known as incretin mimetics, which research has been shown to increase the risk for acute pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer. Others incretin mimetics include Byetta and Januvia.