Papa John’s Surrendered To The Left This Week

REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Scott Greer Contributor
Font Size:

A business owner expressing concern that left-wing activism hurts the company’s earnings is apparently a grave offense nowadays.

Papa John’s issued a lame apology Tuesday after the pizza chain was criticized for its CEO, John Schnatter, claiming the NFL national anthem protests were hurting his company’s sales. Papa John’s is a major sponsor of the football league, and that designation has come with consequences.

“The NFL has hurt us,” Schnatter said during an earnings call earlier this month. “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this. Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership.”

That simple assertion drew intense criticism from left-wing media outlets and activists.


The outrage even led to Papa John’s earning the dubious distinction as the “official pizza of the alt-right” from neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.

In one of the most 2017 moments ever to occur, Papa John’s had to release a statement saying it did not want to be the pizza for Nazis.

The pizza company decided to take back its CEO’s criticism of the NFL Tuesday night in a cringey series of tweets that left the impression that Papa John now supports the national anthem protests.

“The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive,” the pizza chain began. “That definitely was not our intention.

“We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both,” the account added.

The statement then concluded with, “We will work with the players and league to find a positive way forward. Open to ideas from all. Except neo-nazis — [middle-finger emoji] those guys.”

After the statement, the company tried its best to appease Twitter SJWs who were still mad the pizza maker had the audacity to critique those brave anthem kneelers in the first place. The appeasement strategy didn’t appear to work.

Papa John’s capitulation sends a clear message that corporations can only express opinions that align with the progressive orthodoxy. Any statement that goes against it — regardless of whether it is a factual assertion about lost profits — will lead to an inquisition from leftist activists and journalists.

Although it is unlikely the negative reaction from outraged SJWs would have had as much of detrimental effect on pizza sales as the NFL protests — it may have even boosted sales in fact from supportive conservatives — Papa John’s caved into the pressure anyway.

The probable reason for the company’s decision is that it wanted the controversy to disappear and felt showing support for the kneeling would accomplish that. But all the apology does is provide more evidence that corporations take orders from the Left.

The pizza chain’s lame atonement follows multiple corporations pulling ads from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show over the conservative host’s support for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. The reason for the advertiser departures owed to left-wing groups pressuring these companies to drop Hannity.

And they complied.

The thought of being associated with icky conservative positions was too much for these companies, just as the case was for Papa John’s.

The default position, as articulated in the pizza company’s tweets, is progressivism. Anything else is intolerable, even if being woke means tanking profits. Like the NFL is learning over this season.

This writer’s column from earlier this week touched out how many corporations actively seek out to have a woke image as part of their marketing strategy. The purpose of that marketing strategy would supposedly involve increase profits and appealing to your customer base. (RELATED: Corporations Punish Conservatives To Prove They’re Woke)

But Papa John’s newest statement does none of that, as it appears to have pleased no one. Leftists see it as too little, too late — conservatives see it as a craven show of support for anti-flag athletes.

How this affects sales remains to be seen, but it doesn’t help the pizza chain’s public image.

Corporations are starting to style themselves as the moral voice of the nation, one where profits and consumerism dominate public life. However, it is not the boardroom that is setting the dictates for what is good and bad for the country, as John Schnatter can explain to you.

It’s left-wing activists and journalists who tell corporations what is good and what is wrong. Their word is more important than that of customers.

Many Americans like to bemoan the politicization of everything, but wanting it to go away doesn’t mean it will magically disappear. A society where your pizza order comes down to politics isn’t going away any time soon.

There are no politically neutral bystanders in this new normal, as the NFL and Papa John’s can attest.

The Left has made sure of that.


Follow Scott on Twitter and buy his new book, “No Campus for White Men.”