Paula Deen is in full-on crisis mode -- and she's brought out a big gun in the hopes of reviving her ruined reputation following last week's N-word disaster. (The fired Food Network star broke down in tears Wednesday morning on the Today Show speaking to Matt Lauer about the ongoing fracas.) And, a source tells Us Weekly the celebrity chef, 66, has hired none other than Scandal's Olivia Pope! Well, sort of.
A source tells Us Weekly the Lady and Sons proprietor has been "making desperate calls to top crisis PR firms" after Food Network and Smithfield both dropped her in the wake of the scandal, with other partnerships and business ventures on thin ice as well. "She ended up with Judy Smith," the source reveals. Smith, 54, is a Washington, D.C.-based crisis management expert who has worked with the likes of Monica Lewinsky and Michael Vick -- and famously inspired Olivia Pope, the fictional DC "fixer" on ABC's Scandal played by Kerry Washington.
Quips the source: "It's good, because only Olivia Pope could help her now!" The New York Post's Page Six first reported the possibility of Deen hiring Smith. Said Star Jones of the DC insider: "I've got her number on speed dial . . . If I listened to her advice more often, I wouldn't have gotten into half the trouble I'm in."
Choking back sobs, Deen addressed the camera on the Today Show Wednesday morning, pleading "If there's anyone out there that have never said something that they wish they could take back. If you're out there please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. Please, I want to meet you. I is what I is, and I'm not changing."