The pizza chain later distanced itself from the alt-right.
Last week, we reported that Papa John's, the well-known United States pizza chain, was publicly shaming the NFL and, more specifically, the player protests during the National Anthem. The reason? The backlash that continues to harm the league's public image is apparently also hurting the food company's bottom line. Said CEO John Schnatter: "The NFL has hurt us. We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this." The man known for starring in those TV ads for the pizza brand added the following: "Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership." However, if Schnatter isn't thrilled with the NFL's name being tied to his sales, he's definitely not going to like the new group that endorsed him: the alt-right.
According to USA Today, a White Supremacist publication called The Daily Stormer was responsible for a blog post that painted Papa John's as their "official pizza." Using a picture of a pizza with pepperonis arranged in the shape of a swastika, the caption read: "Papa John: Official pizza of the alt-right?" In the ensuing post, Daily Stormer writer Adrian Sol went even further, saying that "this might be the first time ever in modern history that a major institution is going to be completely destroyed explicitly because of public outrage over their anti-White agenda." Of course, Papa John's didn't take this endorsement lightly and responded swiftly.
“We condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it," Peter Collins, senior PR director at Papa John’s said. "We do not want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza." In terms of sales, the outlook is bleaker than anticipated for the pizza chain, with third-quarter sales figures showing diminished rates of growth, sitting at 1.5% this year as opposed to what was projected to be a 2% to 4% increase. North American sales saw a 5.5% uptick during the same period in 2016.
Ironically enough, the man who began this current wave of kneeling protests in the NFL could be in line to join the Houston Texans, a team owned by Bob McNair. The organization's head honcho is the same man who recently compared NFL players to prison inmates.