Paula Deen is setting out to do some damage control, hiring crisis manager Judy Smith.
The 66-year-old celebrity chef, who admitted to using the “n-word” in a taped deposition, has been dropped from a number of partnerships, including the Food Network, Smithfield, and Caesar’s Entertainment.
A source told Us Weekly that Deen has been “making desperate calls to top crisis PR firms” in the aftermath of the deposition.
“She ended up with Judy Smith,” the source said.
Judy Smith has represented a number of celebrities facing scandals, including Michael Vick, Wesley Snipes, and Kobe Bryant. She also represented Monica Lewinksy and Paula Broadwell, the mistress of former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus. Smith previously served as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H.W. Bush. Smith also inspired Scandal‘s Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), and serves as a co-executive producer and technical advisor on the show.
Paula Deen hasn’t lost all of her sponsorships, however. Tasty Blend Foods, Landies Candies, and Novo Nordisk are standing by Deen despite the controversy.
“Tasty Blend Foods was very pleased with the Paula Deen interview given this morning on the Today Show. We appreciate her commitment and how she stepped up and apologized to her viewers, fans and the nation,” Tasty Blends said in a statement. “We personally endorse Paula Deen and what she stands for. We are very saddened that she is being judged by her past, everyone has made a mistake sometime in their lives. We look forward to our continued partnership with her.”
Similarly, Landies Candies President Larry Szrama said, “Your interview this morning reaffirms who you really are and what you believe. We count it a privilege to be your friend and business partner and look forward to sweet success in the future.”
Deen went on TODAY Wednesday and said that she didn’t think it was right that she had been fired from the Food Network. She also said that she is not racist.
“I believe that … every one of God’s creatures was created equal. I believe that everyone should be treated equal, that’s the way I was raised and that’s the way I live my life,” she said.
What do you think of Paula Deen hiring Judy Smith?
[Paula Deen photo: Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway / Flickr]