Subway Franchisees Call For Megan Rapinoe Boycott Amid ‘Backlash’ From Customers

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Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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A group of Subway franchise operators said they have received “backlash” from customers who do not support Megan Rapinoe’s appearance in the company’s “Eat Fresh Refresh” commercials, Business Insider reported.

The World Cup and Olympic champion, who has a history of kneeling during the national anthem, is one of several celebrity athletes – including Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, and Serena Williams – who appear in Subway’s new ads. However, many Subway customers view her as un-American, and franchise operators are growing concerned about how this will affect sales, according to Business Insider. (RELATED: Victoria’s Secret Does Away With Angels, Brings Megan Rapinoe, Transgender Model And Others On Board)

“We used to go to subway. Not since we saw the tv commercial with Megan Rapinoe,” a customer wrote on the Facebook page for a Subway in Bakersfield, California.

Meanwhile, a store operator allegedly found a handwritten note posted to his door, Business Insider reported. The note read, “Boycott Subway until Subway fires the anti-American … Megan Rapinoe, the creep who kneels for our beloved National Anthem!”

In a private franchisee forum, an operator allegedly wrote, “By knowingly hiring a flashpoint personality to represent the brand with our money, the franchisor has failed,” Business Insider reported.

Mario Denoto, a franchisee in Wisconsin who is weary of spokespersons and endorsements, argued that celebrities can be “polarizing” for loyal customers “can go either way with them,” according to Business Insider. Denoto reportedly told corporate in an email, “Please end Megan’s commercials.”

Subway franchisees – 22,000 total – pay a 4.5% fee of their royalty fees to the fast-food chain’s advertising, according to Business Insider. They do not have an input in how the funds are spent, the outlet noted. Store operators said that sales are high lately, but that it is due to increased menu prices in restaurants, they claimed, not advertising, Business Insider reported.