‘Horrible’ Local Sports Club Ad Slams Paula Deen

by ARLnow.com January 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm 6,573 95 Comments

Celebrity chef Paula Deen recently attracted some controversy when she revealed last week that she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years ago. But a health club ad apparently poking fun at Deen in a local newspaper is attracting some controversy of its own.

Today’s Washington Examiner contained an ad for Washington Sports Clubs that presumably references Deen, who’s known for her butter and sugar-laden recipes.

“Paula, you made a fortune off of fat,” the ad says. “Call us if you want to be around to enjoy it.

One local resident emailed us to say the ad was offensive.

“This is so completely horrible,” said the tipster. “I was shocked to read it.”

Other locals we talked to in Clarendon today agreed the ad was offensive — or at least could be interpreted as offensive — but thought it would be effective in terms of attracting attention to the company.

  • TG3oA

    She related to Jimmy?

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      Jimmy Dean probably provides morning sausage for Paula Deen…just guessing???

  • Tre

    OMG, HOW OFFENSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Charles

      What’s horrible is promoting unhealthy eating. Yes, people are free to stuff their bottomless mouth with whatever they like, but to have a celebrity hide the fact that her fat gut gave her a chronic illness* is wrong, wrong, wrong. *Yes, diabetes can be caused by obesity.

      • Buddy

        amen, brother

        • Logan

          Paula Deen doesn’t preach for you to eat this way 7 days a week.

          • James

            She doesn’t have to preach you eat like that 7 days a week. Her cooking show and websites up until the diagnosis was made public predominantly displays recipes that are in fact unhealthy. This ad is pretty much offensive if you’re suffering from diabetes and treating it with meals of ‘The Lady Brunch Burger’. Fat people frequently die from being fat and not dealing with it, is there some confusion over this?

      • Alison

        I’m of the belief that you can eat whatever you want in moderation, as long as you exercise regularly. Her recipes might be horrible for you, but if you make and eat them once a week as an indulgence while eating healthier the rest of the week, you should be fine. Clearly, this is not the case for her. BUT just because someone puts recipes on a website does not make them responsible for you cooking said recipes and gorging yourself on them daily. That’s like blaming McDonald’s for making you fat too. Nobody is holding you down and forcing you to eat from the drive thru. Have some personal accountability.

        • SUNBOLT!

          I blame McDonald’s ads for my obesity. Also, political ads determine who I vote for. Please take away the right to free speech! Protect me from myself.

          • Bluemontsince1961


        • Bluemontsince1961

          True, Alison.


    Do they really want fatsos in their club. FREDTERP

    • Josh S

      Then again, maybe FREDTERP and steve85 are one and the same……

    • i hope so

      Don’t they need to be in there more than anyone else? Along with all the skinny people who are also way out of shape (thin does not equal fit)

  • CourthouseChris

    Where is Swag with his “this is an outrage” image.

    • Swag

      Can’t post images in comments anymore =(

      Besides, this isn’t an outrage–it’s hilarious.

      • BlueLoom


  • MC 703

    I am on Anthony Bourdain’s side on this one – Paula’s a pig.

    • JamesE

      her food offends me more than this ad

      • VeryTrue

        MC 703 and JamesE – I couldn’t agree more! Both of you are correct.

  • Min

    What’s most offensive is that anyone would defend Paula Deen! She has diabetes from making money off of fat people. Then, she endorsed a diabetes drug to make more money off of fat people, instead of changing her lifestyle and encouraging others to do the same.

    • TG3oA

      How do you know how she got diabetes? You her doctor?

      • Min

        Hahaha! Are you serious? She’s a little long in the tooth for anyone to be claiming this is juvenile diabetes.

      • drax

        Um, she announced it on the Today Show. She said it was Type 2, which is obvious anyway since she was only diagnosed a few years ago.

    • MC 703

      Her publicist just resigned over the diabetiss

      • JamesE

        Her publicist was Wilford Brimley

        • justlurking



      You’re right, Min, in fact I’d say the ad is not offensive at all.

      Rather witty, actually.

    • Buddy

      YES…I agree completely

  • VSD

    Hells yeah, make fun of that fattie!! Let all the fatties know they suck!

  • mickey644

    Offensive? Only to those that fit the same category as Fat Paula Deen! How can a cook who was diagnosed with diabetes THREE years ago not have a consience? What a fool! She could have made a bigger fortune by being honest and cooking for diabetics! Those that were offended are trying to be PC and it didn’t work! Don’t cover up the fat, get in the gym and work it off!

  • drax

    Offering to save her life is offensive?

    • truth be told

      Not if it were to her in a private correspondance. Doing it in public, yes.

      • VSD

        the best medicine for her is public shaming!!

      • Personus

        That makes no sense. Her show is very public. Her show encourages people to eat insanely fatty food. Now it turns out she’s had diabetes for several years while promoting the very food that probably contributed to her disease. And she’s making money as a shill for diabetes drugs.

        I used to like her. But now? She’s a pig. She should go on tour with Newt Gringrinch.

        • Buddy


        • drax

          That’s it! She’s the Gingrich of cooking shows.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Shoot, I’ll take her, butter, donuts, diabetes and all over Mr. Gingrich! Gingrich probably can’t even boil water without burning it.

          • Old Spice Guy Gingrich

            I can burn water. I am the most transformative figure of the last century. I am truly awesome. Look at how smart and awesome I am. Look at my latest wife. Now look at me again. I’m on a horse. Now I have a new wife. I am really smart and awesome. I’m on a private jet.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Feh! Newt can kindly go and kiss a bowl of cold instant grits!

        • dk

          Gotta say I agree with this. It’s really unconscionable.

        • R0bespierre

          Exactly, her behavior is socially irresponsible…which is why I don’t feel the slightest bit of offense when WSC insults her publicly.

  • Josh S

    Yeah, I’m trying, but I can’t see how this is offensive.

    • John Fontain

      Neither can I. They didn’t say she was fat, they said she made money off of fat (i.e., high fat foods). The second part meerly suggests that exercise may prolong her life, which is true.

  • Sherley

    most definitely NOT offensive! It’s awesome, kudos WSC.

  • JamesE

    “This is so completely horrible,” said the tipster. “I was shocked to read it.”

    I am laughing pretty hard at this.

  • Always Right

    Go Paula! You just keep making money off of these people. Good for you!

  • Callie

    Anthony Bourdain was right in the first place. Little did we know at the time he made his “dangerous woman” comment that Paula was a Type II diabetic and had known it for three years but continued to push her butter/cream/sugar laden food on TV and in cookbooks all that time. The worst you can say about the WSC is that it is in the same questionable taste as Paula’s own actions. Oh yes, the irony. She pushed bad, unhealthy food (a bacon burger between two glazed donuts is in nobody’s best interest) and now shills for a drug company that produces expensive drugs to control the diabetes. Ahhh, Paula “have it both ways” Deen. I’ll cut WSC slack on this one.

  • y8s

    Aside from the misrepresentation of “fat” as the culprit here, I’d tend to agree–especially considering her endorsement of the diabeetus meds.

    Case in point regarding fat: I have been on a “dont eat low fat” diet for the last several years that also included reasonable portions and unlimited allotments of leafy vegetables and my cholesterol and LDL have never been lower (with better HDL:LDL ratio too).

    It’s really the refined carbs that are Paula’s big fat problem.

  • Comment

    I think this is edgy, and borderline over the top but not prosecutable. I think WSC was the entity that painted their logos or something all over the sizewalks in Clarendon when they first opened. Now, that was over the top.

  • MadMan

    Do they really think Paula is going to see their ad and respond? Oh I get it, they are just looking to profit over someone’s misfortune and some internet cat fight.

  • Louise

    Love it. Good for Washington Sports. Only thing I don’t like is the lack of capital letters.

    • ArlingtonWay

      It’s the preferred gym of e.e. cummings.

  • R. Griffon

    Really? This is what people find “offensive” these days?

    You know what? They’re right. It’s despicable. But thank God there are at least some people out there fighting for civil discourse AND responsible dietary choices in the public domain. People like the [LINK DELETED]

    • Kiera

      Wow, can I refer my IT guys to you when they haul me before the boss?

  • R. Griffon

    (Just kidding … DON’T CLICK IT!)

  • Kirk

    Leaving aside the ridiculous notion that it is offensive at all, why would it be offensive to “tipster”, unless the “tipster” is Paula?

  • SomeGuy

    Wouldn’t the “shocked” victim have had to be prejudiced to connect this with Paula Deen? I wouldn’t have understood the purpose of the ad, in part because I don’t see a reference to “Deen,” and I also don’t perceive every unflattering reference to a person named Paula into an attack on Ms. Deen.

    Stated differently, how could the shocked person be so sure this was “horrible” about Deen if he/she didn’t feel it was also apropos, and thus clearly targeted at Deen?

  • Ctbeachbm

    Tacky and tasteless and a bit sad that the feel the need to poke fun at someone to recruit members. A gym I will avoid.

    • Sarcasm

      I wish I could go back in time to the days when sarcasm and a sense of humor wasn’t dead. People like you make the world suck. Thank you for being a d-bag and making a mountain out of a molehill.

    • Tre

      I form my opinions of gyms based on small harmless sarcastic ads in local newspapers and not by actual equipment, prices, services or location.

  • Asian

    What is that ‘Asian Fortune’ newspaper rack? I can only assume each paper comes with a fortune cookie or they might be liable for false advertising.

  • CourthouseChris

    Anyone else think this “tipser” was Washington Sports Clubs? This isn’t exactly bad publicity…

    • CourthouseChris

      lol; “tipster” rather

      • Whitney Wilson


        You have a very sneaky and devious mind (that’s a compliment!). I’ll bet you are right.

  • charlie

    the irony is that a lot of sausage gets worked on at WSC Clarendon.

  • Michael H.

    I’m outraged!

    Well, not about the ad. I just wanted to see what it felt like to be outraged for a moment.

    The tipster should be outraged that the U.S. spends hundreds of billions of dollars (yes, with a “B”) a year to treat avoidable medical costs that are largely caused by poor nutrition and inactivity. And that many people continue to think that healthy eating is somehow a joke, that it’s better to stuff one’s face with sugar and hot dogs day after day, regardless of the consequences to one’s health and to the enormous medical expenses that that lifestyle inflicts on the country as a whole (both private and government insurance programs).

    You could actually say that every person who tries to live a healthy lifestyle (regular exercise, good but not necessarily perfect nutrition, no smoking) pays a tax in the thousands of dollars a year to support other people’s choice to live an unhealthy lifestyle. This is in the form of greatly increased insurance premiums and taxes for public health programs.

    I find that more outrageous than this ad.

    • Skeptical

      +100. I dearly love some catastrophically overweight people and feel the pain of watching them get sicker and closer to death when it just isn’t necessary. I’m not mean enough to say things like this to their faces. Maybe I should be. Something has to click. Meanwhile, it really does gag me that there is still a fortune to be made promoting food that wrecks people’s health (and then promoting drugs that aren’t really a cure and have their own problems). Ads by the food industry blandly insisting that gobs of sugar and chemical dreck are just fine for you, now *those* ads offend me.

      • CW

        You mean the “cornsugar.com” ones? They make me want to throw things. Yes, ok, great, it’s just like white refined sugar. They both give you diahbeetus. Congratulations, great marketing.

  • Michael H.

    I also wanted to point out that the ad was quoted incorrectly. Not only is the company’s typewriter missing the capital letters W, S and C, but it is also missing a capital P.

    (Yes, they use typewriters. I read about on the Internet once.)

  • thecharlesriver

    This doesn’t surprise me. When I moved here I looked in to this club and found the sales staff there extremely aggressive, fake, and very off-putting. Given their sales tactics and low-class staff, coupled with this kind of ad, this company is obviously rotten to its core.

    • Buddy

      Well, just raise hell, dude!

      • KTC

        Sorry to hear that – for another perspective, the staff at the Clarendon WSC are my favorite part of the gym. They’ve been consistently thoughtful and helpful in the six months I’ve belonged there… perhaps there’s been turnover in the last year.

  • Becky R.

    I think the example Paula Deen has set is not a good model for Americans. I think her recipes are offensive. And, it’s wrong of her to not tell the truth of what a animal-fat, butter and sugar-laden diet does to the human body.

    • thecharlesriver

      Since when is it her responsibility to provide this information to lazy ignorant Americans who refuse to think for themselves?

    • thecharlesriver

      And not much is bad for you….in moderation. Of course if you want to be a total glutton, then so be it.

  • nota gain

    Paula made/gave the recipes but the viewers did not have to make/eat them. PD did not have to give healthy tips as part of her program.
    There is no outrage here.

  • Rory

    Is Paula Deen a well known person? I have never heard of her until this article.

    Is she Jimmy Dean’s sister?

    Anyway, I’m all for it. Healthy people subsidize fat people’s health care.

  • Barbin

    I find the WSC posting offensive and tasteless. I would take my business elsewhere (in fact, I do take my business elsewhere and if my “elsewhere” were to do the same thing, it wouldn’t have my business).

    • bob

      You must be a fatty.

      • VeryTrue

        Barbin’s elsewhere is McDonalds…

  • G Clifford Prout

    WSC did another ad that I liked:

    politicians, get in shape for your next scandalous photo.

  • Runaway Train

    I’m tired of having to tip toe around offending overweight people. You’re a drain on resources, gyms are in the business of motivating people. Different tactics motivate different people, sorry you’re offended, get over it (and more than likely find a way to exercise because if you were in shape you probably wouldn’t be complaining). The day that all of the Rosslyn escalators went out (pick any day really) and all of you overweight and out of shape people had to huff it up the steps should have been a wake up call. It shouldn’t be a near death experience.
    Wanna fix healthcare? Charge premiums based on an individual’s weight and BMI.

    • drax

      Next up – complaining about old people.

      • Bluemontsince1961


    • sue

      They are draining our health care system. All these fatsos are have coronaries, cancer, diabetes, etc. directly related to shoving crap in their mouths and not exercising. The fact Fat Tubalard, Michael Moore, did a documentary on our health care system looking as fat and out of shape as he is a joke. Fatsos like him are part of the problem.

    • CW

      You had me until the last sentence. BMI is a crock. Walk into Gold’s in Ballston or Potomac Crossfit and start asking about BMI. I dare you to call some of those guys and gals obese to their faces.

      • VeryTrue

        Runaway Train also had me until the last sentence. BMI is the wrong measurement. Body fat % is better, but still not the best.

  • Duke

    IF PAULA DEEN WAS PRESIDENT…Every mixing bowl would come with a box of hot Krispy Kreme donuts.

    IF PAULA DEEN WAS PRESIDENT…Jamie and Bobby would have their faces added to Mount Rushmore.

    IF PAULA DEEN WAS PRESIDENT…Air Force One would be painted to look like a fudgsicle.

    IF PAULA DEEN WAS PRESIDENT… The US Marines would be taught the fine arts of combat, stealth, and making gravy from pan drippings.

    IF PAULA DEEN WAS PRESIDENT… Meatballs would be considered legal tender.

  • Comment

    You can say whatever you want about Paula Dean, but I dare you to mess with Mario Batali !

  • duke

    Riddle me this Batman:
    What celebrity chef has confirmed rumors that she has diabetes and issued a statement that instead of insulin, she plans to inject butter directly into her veins? Paula Deen

  • P. Monroe

    Offensive? Questionable, perhaps? Classless? Okay, yes.
    I’m just glad our mainstream culture finally is realizing that the old-school American way of viewing daily diet is wrong. But believe me, I’m all for indulging every now and then. Keep exercising!

    • Arlingtonian

      Yeah, agreed. And while I think the ad isn’t exactly classy, it doesn’t bother me as much as the open verbal berating of and hatred toward fat people that has suddenly become perfectly acceptable in our society. It doesn’t help … mainly because (gasp!) fat people already know they are fat, most of them aren’t happy about it, and they don’t need anyone to remind them of either fact with a sneer or snotty comment about whatever food they chose. Yeah, fat people put a strain on our healthcare system, but so do smokers, excessive drinkers, slim people who never exercise, slim people who eat too much salt, slim people who eat too much trans fat … Like someone said above, thin does not equal fit. (I should know, I’m rather skinny but used to be quite out of shape)

      And, it was hard enough for me to get into a gym as a slender but mega out-of-shape person back in the day. So I don’t really see how this ad will genuinely attract people who need to be there the most … ’cause it sounds really … welcoming. Unless of course WSC doesn’t really give a **** and were just trying to be funny and don’t actually want any fat clients or their money … then ok, makes sense. But it would be kind of nice to see a gym attract people by actually letting them know they genuinely want to help them reach their goals. Hell it’s such a novel idea you might be able to pull more people in there than you think.

  • Eric Starson

    People think diabetes is all about sugar, but the saturated fat in meat and dairy appears to be the main culprit:

  • I’m really starting to feel like WSC is just not my type of positive, inspiring fitness center: http://gymsfornormals.tumblr.com/post/17252848752/stink-stank-stunk
    Gyms like Crunch tend to be much more about what you can accomplish instead of what’s currently wrong with you.


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