Paula Deen‘s publicist, Nancy Assuncao, quit after six years when she found out about her deal with Novo Nordisk last month, according to the New York Post. Assuncao served as Deen’s spokeswoman and chief marketer, but says she couldn’t get on board with her new business venture. She’s probably not too worried about getting work (her past clients include Ian Schrager), but in any case: Her availability is great news for anyone in need of a publicist.
Assuncao explained her departure to the Post:
I’m very grateful for the six years that I worked with Paula in helping her build the Deen brand.
Although we had a great deal of fun along the way, I could not agree with the new business strategy going forward. Nonetheless, I wish them continued success.
Her ability to stick to her principles is admirable, but she had the good sense to be tactful about explaining her move—so, why haven’t you hired her to do your PR yet?
An anonymous source was more forthcoming about the split:
[Assuncao] sstrongly disagreed with Deen’s dramatic turnabout, after years of promoting fatty foods, to announcing she has a deal with a diabetes drug company [Novo Nordisk] and will be promoting lighter food and ‘diabetes in a new light.’
While Paula did tell some people at her live appearances about her diabetes, she certainly didn’t talk about it on her show. Nancy disagreed with Paula’s plan to be a drug-company spokesman and challenged her decision. But this wasn’t a battle Nancy felt she was going to win. She couldn’t be part of it.
It’s unclear whether her split with Deen was motivated by business interests or personal disagreement with her message, but either way it was clearly a smart move. Paula Deen might have done herself a favor by heeding the advice of her Assuncao; once this Novo Nordisk deal runs out, we suspect she’ll be short on publicists and fans.