"Very cruel" comments be damned, Anthony Bourdain's not backing down from his criticism of doughnut burger pioneer and diabetes drug seller Paula Deen.
"I think she's being disingenuous," the "No Reservations" host told ABCNews.com today. "She's being very good at playing the victim. Let's call it what it is. This is big company that rolled out a new product, a diabetes drug, [with someone who was] selling doughnuts to children for years. I thought it was in bad taste, I made some cracks about it, and I walked into the whirlwind."
"This is not about diabetes," he added, "I feel bad for anyone who has diabetes."
Deen told the May issue of Prevention magazine that Bourdain was "very, very cruel" following her January revelation that she has diabetes and is working with diabetes drug-maker Novo Nordisk. (He tweeted, among other things, "Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.")
But lest you think that Bourdain is a black-hearted, down home cooking hater, nibble on the bit of news that he's publishing a book by Marilyn Hagerty, the 85-year-old restaurant critic from Grand Forks, N.D. who shot to fame last month when she reviewed the Olive Garden.
"What we have here is a sincere, straightforward, reportage on restaurants that a lot of people in America who write about food, and post about food, and blog about food don't really see," Bourdain said. "I see her life's work, to a great extent, as a history of American dining."
He added, "I thought her reviews were really refreshing and heartfelt. I think she made all of us snarky bastards from the coasts look small and bad. I think there's a book there, I know there's a book there, and I'm honored to be publishing it."
Season eight of Bourdain's Emmy-winning Travel Channel show, "No Reservations," premieres April 9.