LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — This week, pizza chain Papa John’s announced that it was scaling back its revenue and profit projections for this quarter. In an attempt to explain to shareholders and the general public while their sales are on the decline, the company’s founder and CEO John Schnatter blamed the ongoing, public spat between African American NFL players who choose to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality and President Donald Trump.
As CNN reported, Schnatter directly targeted the protests as the primary reason his company’s pizzas aren’t selling like they used to.
“This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago,” Schnatter said. “The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.” (CNN)
Mr. Schnatter has come under fire for his comments in some circles, because his critics point out that stock prices for the pizza giant are off nearly a quarter this year. But whether or not the quiet, peaceful protests of NFL players are to blame for dipping sales and profits, Schnatter told a radio interviewer in Kentucky this week that his company’s executives did in fact discuss whether other factors might be playing at least some small part in the sales decline.
“For a while we thought maybe our signature recipe, that consists of taking a dump on a cracker and calling it pizza, needed to change, but then we realized it was actually uppity black people peacefully protesting that was making our pizza taste like shit,” Schnatter explained. “Yes, we thought about doing a less diarrhea-tastic recipe,” Schnatter said, “but what’s the fun in that when we can bash people for asking not to be murdered by cops in the streets?”
Schnatter also seemed to acknowledge during the interview that other factors might be in play that are keeping the controversy over the protests in the news cycles. He admitted that it doesn’t help when the country’s chief executive is baiting players and tweeting angrily about them. However, Schnatter says he has a vested interest in not criticizing the president too strongly.
“Sure, it might seem like it would help if President Trump just shut the fuck up about the protests,” Schnatter said in a moment of candidness, “but we like how he wants to help our company pay even less in taxes, so you know…stuff and things.”
Schnatter donated $1,000 to the Donald Trump campaign, though he wasn’t an outspoken surrogate. Schnatter has gotten political before, blaming Obamacare for his inability to pay his employees more than minimum wage. The backlash caused Papa John’s shares to tank by 4%.
“Look, if we get desperate enough, maybe we’ll reconsider our recipe,” Schnatter said, “and we’ll reduce the ratio of feces to cracker or something like that. But make no mistake, we feel bashing black people for exercising their First Amendment rights is the best path forward for us to reclaim our market share.”
The NFL did not respond to requests for comment.