Paula Deen, the celebrity cook who has seen her TV shows and corporate sponsorships disappear in recent weeks because of reports about her past use of the N-word, is going to be the star of a comic book this fall, a publisher says.
Bluewater Productions announced this week that "despite the recent media hailstorm and public criticism aimed at celebrity chef Paula Deen ... it will not change plans to publish its 'Female Force' biography comic book title featuring the embattled TV personality due out this fall."
In a statement sent to us and other news outlets, Bluewater President Darren Davis adds that, "we do not condone her use of racial insensitivities, and think that intolerance has no place in a just society. But despite her recent failings, we also strongly believe she still has a powerful story to tell; one that fits the female empowerment model of our books."
Bluewater's "Female Force" series spotlights the lives of prominent women. Among those who have been featured: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, first lady Michelle Obama, author J.K. Rowling and actress Angelina Jolie.
Deen, known for her Southern-style cooking, has been a star on The Food Network, a best-selling author of cookbooks, an endorser of kitchen products and the owner of a popular restaurant in Savannah, Ga.
In many cases, Bluewater spokesman Jason Schultz says, the subjects of its "Female Force" comics have cooperated with the publisher — which in turn has then donated about 25 percent of the profits to a charity of the celebrity's choice. Deen, however, has not responded to the publisher's requests for help. Schultz says Bluewater is considering what charity any profits from the Deen comic might go to.
The comic, which was written before the news about Deen's past racist remarks, is being updated to include at least one page addressing that news, Schultz says.
"We're not going to flambé her," Davis, Bluewater's president, tells Reuters. Bluewater says "the majority of the comic book will focus on how she became an iconic brand, the challenges of her humble beginnings and the results of bursting certain stereotypes."
Female Force: Paula Deen is due for release in October.