Paula Deen is returning to business, which could be a comeback for the Southern chef, and it’s called Paula Deen Ventures. The Southern cuisine guru whose business includes restaurants, cookbooks, cookware and cruises just got a new company, thanks to a new partner.
Najafi Media is a Phoenix based consumer distributor. Jahm Najafi, the chief executive officer, said he has respect for Paula Deen and all her hard work she has put forth in her unique and quality brand of products.
Last June, Deen hit hot water when it was reported she’d let out a racial slur. She lost a TV contract and sponsors. What did she do to lose everything in such a short time frame? She said she once called an African-American male, a racial slur. She had used the “n” word.
Major companies did not want to be associated with this woman, who once used a racial slur. Her contracts ran out and Walmart and Target would have nothing to with her. Home Depot and Sears and JCPenney did the same. Smithfield Foods, Ceasars Casinos and even a drug company which produces diabetes medicine, Novo Nordisk, dropped her cold.
Najafi seems to think the lady from Savannah has loyal fans, as they pack her restaurants in Savannah, Georgia. She gave a tear streamed apology on YouTube and The Today Show on NBC. Now this lady from Savannah, Georgia, Paula Deen wants to comeback and be the Southern chef, once again.
Her comeback includes a $100 million investment for her Paula Deen Foods and Media, combining to be Paula Deen Ventures.
Lisa Jackson, one of her employees in Savannah, Georgia sued her. She claimed sexual and racial discrimination. Deen admitted to language, which was racial in nature. A judge in federal court in Georgia threw the case out last August. Paula Deen reached a settlement for Lisa Jackson out of court.
According to an advertising columnist, Larry Woodward, she can make a comeback because he feels Americans like their celebrities knowing they are human, too. He feels she will need to win over her audience, who was offended, and gain their respect. Her tearful apology was a start in that direction.
Deen received a standing ovation in Texas for her first public outing. She has loyal fans who want to buy her products and continue to go to her restaurants. In the midst of her scandal last year, her book jumped 1,300 percent in pre-sales, yet it was never published after her disgraceful departure from the top.
Steven Nanula will be the chief executive and he says they are in talks for possible contracts with TV and retail outlets. The Food Network denies talks with her and her new company. Deen and her Southern hometown appeal, easy smile and laughter, once charmed her audience along with her hard work ethics and of course her fried food in all its decadence. Paula Deen is ready for a comeback and America will see if she can climb to the cream of the crop again in her cooking business.
By: Kim Troike