Paula Deen, Agent Cut Ties

Barry Weiner was key strategist for chef
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2013 2:00 AM CDT
Paula Deen, Agent Cut Ties
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2012 file photo, celebrity chef Paula Deen poses for a portrait in New York. Deen announced Thursday, July 4, 2013 that she has cut business ties with the agent who helped make her a Food Network star and launch a media and merchandising empire that has largely crumbled in the...   (AP Photo/Carlo Allegri, File)

As companies flee from Paula Deen amid controversy over a racial slur, the chef has broken with her agent. Barry Weiner was a key figure in Deen's professional life: The Wall Street Journal calls him her "chief adviser" and a business strategist who helped direct her company, Paula Deen Enterprises. The two had worked together for more than 10 years, the AP reports. Weiner and his firm also represent her sons and producer; it's not known whether those relationships will continue. The move may offer a chance for a new start, the Journal notes, but can Deen pull it off? A PR expert, citing the example of Michael Vick, thinks it's possible: "The American public is very forgiving. If she could really learn empathy, I think she could salvage her career." (Read more Paula Deen stories.)

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