Business & Real Estate

As Papa John’s evaluates NFL sponsorship, chain tells racists: Don’t buy our pizza

Papa John’s founder, chairman and CEO John Schnatter, middle, talks with Archie Manning, left, and JJ Watt, right, on Super Bowl 51 Radio Row, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, in Houston.
Papa John’s founder, chairman and CEO John Schnatter, middle, talks with Archie Manning, left, and JJ Watt, right, on Super Bowl 51 Radio Row, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, in Houston. Invision for Papa John’s

Over the past few days, pizza has become something of a political matter.

After the CEO of Papa John’s blamed NFL player protests for poor profits this week, the pizza chain was slammed on social media by consumers and even rival pizza-makers for the quality of its pizza – the true reason for suffering sales, those critics claim.

Some took it a step or two further, calling Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter a racist, with one white supremacist website naming Papa John’s the official pizza of the “alt-right,” Newsweek reported.

Papa John’s, which operates nearly 5,000 stores, is considering ending its NFL sponsorship, The Wall Street Journal and CNBC reported Friday.

Whether that ends up happening or not, Papa John’s has a message for racists: Don’t buy our pizza.

The full statement, received by The Huffington Post via email from the company’s senior director of public relations:

“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.”

Meanwhile, some liberals have threatened to boycott Papa John’s and take their pie-buying business to competitor Little Caesars, whose founder Mike Ilitch reportedly paid for civil rights figure Rosa Parks’ housing for the last 11 years of her life, according to a Sports Business Daily story from 2014.

Some say the company will rebound, in image and in profits.

“People get upset and the outrage lasts for a week,” marketing professor Lakshman Krishnamurthi told The Washington Post. “These kinds of things blow over.”

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