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I study publishing, book marketing, and author “branding” to teach myself about the world of writing. Through a marketing newsletter I subscribe to, I came upon this blog post, “Paula Deen Blew It.”  Famous for her rich, Southern-style recipes, Paula is a mega-star cook with a TV show, magazine, cookbooks, and her own line of kitchen products.

Three years ago, she was diagnosed with diabetes. But she kept it private until she recently announced a spokesperson deal with a company that manufactures a diabetes drug. Paula is now, as they say, out of the closet. And the you-know-what has hit the fan.

The vultures are circling over the issue of whether she can survive the PR mess of having kept her diagnosis private for three years while continuing to promote food that many consider unhealthy.

Does a public figure give up all rights to privacy? When you become a “brand,” do you cease to be a person? Must you then be free of errors or mistakes? What if the public feels, rightly or wrongly, that they’ve been duped? These are at the heart of the debate. (more…)