Bad Week Get Worse as Papa John's Pizza Becomes 'Official Pizza of the Alt-right'

A photograph of an altered Papa John's pizza box. | 
November 4, 2017 |

If there were a worse week in their company's 33-year history, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Papa John's Pizza would be hard pressed to find one.

As many sports fans and news consumers might be aware, the Jeffersontown, Kentucky-based pizza behemoth inadvertently stepped neck deep into the ongoing National Football League's national anthem controversy earlier this week. When explaining the company year-over-year sales decline, Papa John's found John Schnatter pointed to the NFL.

As the official pizza of the NFL, Schnatter said the sales decline was caused by lower television ratings for the league which many have said are attributed to the national anthem controversy. That controversy centers on many NFL players, many of whom are African-American, kneeling instead of standing when the Star Spangled Banner is performed before every NFL game. 

"We are totally disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago," Schnatter said in a call with investors on Wednesday. "This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago." 

Almost immediately the backlash started. The first to seize on the comments were competitors Yum Brand's Pizza Hut unit and Dominos.

Pizza Hut claimed their year over year sales during the NFL season have increased one-percent. Dominos upped the ante and noted their sales jumped an impressive eight percent during the same period. 

In comparing Dominos to Pizza Hut in terms of stock performance, DPZ is the clear favorite pizza with Wall Street. See five year chart comparing stock performance of Dominos and Papa John's here

Even grocery store pizzas smelled the blood in the water. DiGiorno even threw shade on Papa John's in what has become characterized as an epic Twitter war.  

Of course Schnattner comments drew many people to state the obvious - they make really crummy pizzas. Notwithstanding Peyton Manning pimping you rubbery slices (see video below), if there is one thing American's have an opinion on it is what they think is good pizza and in the marketplace, their pies are not making the grade.

Or as one writer said of their pizza, it tastes like "salty upholstery."

If all of this was not bad public relations for Papa Johns, news came that a white knight of sorts was coming to their rescue. That white knight is none other than the notorious Alt-right movement.

The white supremacist website The Daily Stormer, has named Papa John' the official pizza of the alt-right. While the company quickly disavowed the "endorsement," Schnatter has not shied away from dipping his toes into controversial political topics.

Schnatter is on the record for opposing Obamacare, and has contributed, be it ever so small given his wealth, $1,000 to the Trump campaign.

All in all, we are quite sure this is a week Schnatter wants to put quickly behind him. Problem is, given the crappy quality of his pizza, and the controversy and negative attentions his comments have generated, this may be the week Schnitter sealed his company's long-term fate.   

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1 comment

D.J. Blutarsky said...

I hear the Alt-left is coming out with a new pizza chain to challenge Papa John's. It's a unique German variation of the classic pizza called Loch Herr Uppe!

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