It’s never a good day in the life of an online brand when its PR spokesperson is forced to craft a statement ordering racists to stop eating or enjoying its pizza. And yet, thanks to a confluence of NFL protests, “alt-right” manipulation, and a bunch of boneheaded comments from its founder, low-rent pizza chain Papa John’s has now been forced to do exactly that.
This latest wrinkle in the pizza-culture war has been chronicled in a Newsweek piece today, which notes that the racist shitheads of the Daily Stormer have decided to insert themselves into the current conversation around CEO John Schnatter’s decision to pull his company’s ads from the NFL, because images of protesting players are allegedly hurting the chain’s sales. Employing a now common-tactic—they did something similar to New Balance and Wendy’s in recent months—members of the white supremacist group have claimed Papa John’s as “the official pizza of the ‘alt-right,’” complete with a picture of a pizza with a bunch of pepperonis on it in the shape of a swastika. (A concept that presumably took some industrious racist all of six seconds to dream up.)
And while there might be something vaguely fitting about Papa John’s greasy, bland, identity-less pizza being associated with a bunch of racist snowflakes, the company is having none of it. Responding to questions that we’re sure they were thrilled to be receiving from The Huffington Post, the chain issued the following statement today: “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.” What weird, stupid times we find ourselves living in.