By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 03, 2002 12:00 PM

In what has been turning into a growing public-relations nightmare, Martha Stewart abruptly canceled her regular Wednesday lifestyle-feature appearance on CBS’s “Early Show” this week rather than face questions from the program’s hosts about the ImClone stock scandal, the network confirmed late Tuesday, reports The New York Times. The week before, “Early Show” host Jane Clayson asked Stewart, 60, about the investigation as Stewart was chopping a cabbage. But Stewart, showing a degree of resentment, begged off questions, saying, “I just want to focus on my salad.” CBS made clear to the domestic diva that she would again face questions about the issue this Wednesday, when she was due to share her recipes for icebox desserts, reports The Times. A spokesman for Stewart told the paper after the cancellation: “As she explained in her previous interview on CBS last week, she is unable to comment or offer any other information at this time out of respect for the investigatory process. This inherent conflict unfortunately prevents Martha from appearing.” Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that, last weekend, Stewart’s company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., hired the public-relations strategists Brunswick Group to handle the media storm surrounding Stewart. The domestic diva is under scrutiny for her sale of ImClone stock one day before it plummeted on news that its cancer drug would not receive Food and Drug Adminstration approval.