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Paula Deen’s Firing: 5 Lessons for Businesses

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By Betty Wang

'Book Expo America' Day 2 - 2013Celebrity chef Paula Deen has been fired by Food Network, which is declining to renew her contract when it expires at the end of this month. The news, of course, stems from leaked court documents that revealed Deen’s use of derogatory slurs, among a whole slew of other offensive behavior and language.

Deen’s firing comes almost two years after the 66-year-old celebrity chef’s other “scandal,” wherein she revealed her Type II diabetes—but only because she was a paid spokeswoman for an insulin company.

Aside from her penchant for drowning everything in butter and scandal, what can business owners take away from Deen’s public ordeals? Here are five potential lessons to be learned:

Prepare for your depositions. If you’re involved in a lawsuit, depositions are unavoidable. Obviously you should never leave out relevant information or lie, but there is still a certain way to present your story through the questions you are asked. Make sure your attorney prepares you ahead of time with what’s to be expected.

Don’t be inconsistent with your brand. Being consistent with your product is key; there is nothing more off-putting than knowing a business owner does not abide by her own mission statement. While Deen obviously did not plan to get diabetes (though others may disagree with that), she continued to cook up sugary, unhealthy meals and only began promoting a healthier image when she became a paid spokesperson. This comes off as rather disingenuous, and is less likely to retain customers.

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