Papa John's Pizza is based here in Kentucky (Louisville is home to both it and competitor Yum! Brands and Pizza Hut, go figure we're the capital of greasy food) and CEO and founder John Schnatter made headlines last week complaining that the pizza delivery chain's 2017 financial woes were directly the problem of people boycotting the NFL over Black Lives Matter and Colin Kaepernick.
Papa John's is reevaluating its NFL sponsorship after controversyinvolving players' protests during the national anthem engulfed the chain.
"If the viewership decline continues, we will need to shift into things that work more effectively for us," Papa John’s President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie told the Wall Street Journal on Friday.
On Wednesday, Papa John's CEO and founder John Schnatter slammed the NFL, blaming the league's "poor leadership" and declining ratings on the pizza chain's sales slump. According to Schnatter, controversy surrounding players' protests had played a role in ratings decline.
Makes sense, ratings are down, pizza sales are down, so it must be black peoples' fault!
The problem is Schnatter now has a much, much bigger issue on his hands: the neo-Nazis have latched onto him as not only the official pizza of the NFL, but the "official pizza of white supremacy".
Neo-Nazis and white supremacists have always been distasteful, but now it turns out their taste in pizza is terrible, too.
The white supremacist website the Daily Stormer announced Thursday that Papa John’s pizza is the official pie of the alt-right, posting a picture of a pizza with a swastika fashioned from pepperoni slices. The caption reads, "Papa John: Official pizza of the alt-right?"
That had Schnatter scrambling for clean-up over the weekend trying to desperately distance his pizza chain from actual Nazis.
But after the Nazi pizza fiasco, Papa Johns issued a clear message to neo-Nazis and other hate groups, warning them off their products.
Peter Collins, the senior director of public relations at Papa Johns, said in a statement: “We condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it.”
“We do not want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza,” he added.
Papa Johns CEO John Schnatter’s comments about the NFL were widely criticized, after he suggested he would be pulling advertising from the league over the police brutality protests.
You don't get much more of a confirmation that your CEO's comments on Black Lives Matter protests in the NFL were stupidly racist than actual Nazis publicly agreeing with you and telling other Nazis to buy your company's product, guys. That's pretty much the max level on that one.
I kind of feel a bit sorry for Peter Collins here, this is one hell of a shitshow and he's probably going to get fired because the guy he works for put out such a series of dog whistle racist comments that Nazis showed up to applaud it. As a PR professional, that's about as bad as it gets.
By the way, I stopped eating Papa John's more than once every couple of months because there's much better pizza in Cincinnati, Schnatter's always been an asshole, and I used to work there in college so I know what goes in the pies.
Don't eat there. Trust me.