John Schnatter donated ONE MILLION DOLLARS to historically black Simmons College. It is an obvious atonement gesture for Schnatter’s horribly racist utterance during a 2018 company training conference call that ruined his life.
Check the word on his tailored shirt. Papa.
That’s a reference to a dead mascot that only Schnatter keeps alive.
Many people feel that last year’s complete annihilation of “Papa” John Schnatter was the most overplayed hand of political correctness ever seen in business. The guy said the n-word and was pilloried as though he’d murdered a thousand homeless children.
That stated, rule #1 in today’s WOKE culture is that white people can’t say the n-word no matter how commonly it is used by people of color in their public conversations, art, music, or any mass communication.
The n-word is the nuclear bomb of white verbiage. Don’t say it under any circumstance, not even as a “mention” within the context of discussing the debilitating effects of saying it. Just don’t say it, white people. Period.
Schnatter screwed up. He has paid dearly by losing his company, power, respect, and his manufactured spokesperson image. Note that the spokesperson image is MANUFACTURED. The guy who demanded to appear in all marketing for Papa John’s pizza was simply playing a role as “Papa” John. The company spent millions to purchase his fame and now needs that “Papa” recognizability to go away.
Today’s completely restructured Papa John’s pizza company leadership team wants no part of Schnatter’s name or image associated with the firm. Schnatter’s n-word idiocy followed prior tone deaf comments about the NFL national anthem controversy and the cost of employee healthcare.
Racism + racial insensitivity + lack of empathy for employees = You’re fired.
What is especially jarring to Papa John’s management is that Schnatter still doesn’t quite understand that HE IS NOT PAPA JOHN. There is no Papa John. Papa John is a mascot that has been retired.
Yet he wore the PAPA signature shirt at the Simmons College announcement, referenced “our great employees at Papa John’s,” and “it’s been a real gift from God to be a leader in this community.”
Community leader? Yes. Our employees? No. That ship has sailed.
Schnatter was hustled out the door without taking media questions. But…but…the media was invited and then denied access to anything other than prepared remarks.
video via The Courier-Journal
The first question would be “Why are you wearing that shirt?” but no one got the chance to ask. Schnatter, Simmons president Dr. Kevin Cosby, and board president Dr. Mark Lynn sprinted off the stage after Schnatter’s gift announcement, with Lynn eventually answering a few media questions in the parking lot as Schnatter and Cosby slipped away.
Schnatter now talking about his $1m gift from his foundation. “Supporting Simmons College is a better investment to build a better community… My life’s work is to help make other people’s lives better” pic.twitter.com/Xi1WpkCYOP
— Chris Otts (@christopherotts) September 4, 2019
Schnatter’s shirt carries personal significance. He was the only Papa John’s employee allowed to wear that particular blend of red and orange colors, sewn to mimic a Dale Earnhardt style garment. The former pizza pitchman also wears tailored jeans and custom made shoes said to match his dyed hair color.
Just as Subway retired its human mascot Jared Fogle after his (much more severely heinous) misdeeds, the company Papa John’s wants ZERO imagery of “Papa” John the person in public again.
Companies retire mascots without controversy. Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas was on his commercials for decades, eventually transitioning to his daughter Wendy. No longer. Think “Herb” from Burger King or the oddly menacing Queenie Bee after Burger Queen changed its business model.
Not all food mascots are eternal like Ronald McDonald. Most mascots eventually outlive their usefulness.
John Schnatter is not “Papa” anything. He’s just a confused guy who cannot comprehend that his ego continually hampers the rebirth of his former company. Tens of thousands of Papa John’s employees need for him to change his shirt for good.
UPDATE: On September 9, several days after dodging Louisville media, John Schnatter appeared on Fox Business with Maria Bartiroma to answer questions about Papa John’s future and his stock sales. Note that Schnatter opted to wear a suit instead of the usual PAPA signature garb.
Fox Business video HERE