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Papa John’s Boycott refers to an online campaign against the take-out and pizza delivery restaurant chain Papa John’s Pizza. The boycott was launched in November of 2012 in response to statements by Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter regarding the health care reform legislation known as Patient Protection and Afforable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”).
On August 1st, 2012, Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter made several statements in a conference call regarding the potential costs to the company that may arise as a result of Obamacare legislation (shown below). On August 7th, the poltical blog Politico published an article about the conference call titled “Papa John’s: ‘Obamacare’ will raise pizza prices.”
“Our best estimate is that the Obamacare will cost 11 to 14 cents per pizza, or 15 to 20 cents per order from a corporate basis.”
“We’re not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry. But our business model and unit economics are about as ideal as you can get for a food company to absorb Obamacare.”
“If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders best interests.”
Following Obama’s re-election on November 7th, the Floridia news site Naples News quoted Schnatter saying he may cut employee hours to avoid paying for employee health insurance under the new health care reform laws.
On October 4th, 2011, the first Facebook group calling for a boycott of Papa John’s was created after a delivery driver turned in a medical marijuana user to the police. The page has since been changed to reflect a boycott based on Schnatter’s Obamacare stance. Following Schnatter’s statements made in August of 2012, the first boycotts related to Obamacare were reported by several news media sites, including Salon, the Huffington Post, CNBC and Twitchy. Mashable reported that Papa John’s score on the YouGov Brand Index, which averages positive and negative reviews of a brand on the web, had dropped from 100 to 49.
On November 12th, the boycott was discussed in a thread on the Democratic Underground forums. The controversy was also reported by several news sites and political blogs, including the Christian Post, Opposing Views and Twitchy. The conservative group Reboot USA called for a National Papa Johns Appreciation Day to be held on November 16th, similar to the one organized for Chick-Fil-A in August during their gay marriage controversy.
On November 11th, Redditor Awkward_Arab submitted a post titled “Papa John’s House” to the /r/pics subreddit, which featured an aerial photograph of Schnatter’s 40,000 square foot castle in a country club of Louisville, Kentucky (shown below). Within 24 hours, the post received over 25,900 up votes and 5000 comments.
The same day, Redditor goforRepear submitted a post calling for a boycott of Papa John’s to the /r/politics subreddit, which received over 21,400 up votes and 4,700 comments within the first 24 hours. On November 12th, Redditor Radioactive24 submitted a post titled “Good Guy Little Caesars” to the /r/AdviceAnimal subreddit, featuring an image macro of the Little Caesar’s logo with the caption “Owners are Republicans / Give employees health insurance, 401K’s, and pizzas are still $5” (shown below, left). Several hours later, Redditor multile submitted a post titled “Good Guy Local Pizza Shop Owner,” which included an image macro of a pizza restaurant worker with the caption “Isn’t a millionaire / makes better pizza than chain stores and sponsors local baseball team” (shown below, right).
Scumbag John Schnatter
Following Schnatter’s Obamacare statements in November of 2012, a "Scumbag John Schnatter Quickmeme page was created, featuring a photograph of Schnatter accompanied by captions portraying him as greedy and unethical (shown below).
Following Schnatter’s threats to cut employee hours due in November, the hashtags #BoycottPapaJohn, #BoycottPapaJohns and #PapaDouche began circulating on Twitter. In response, fans of the chain proudly tweeted their praise, often including pictures of pizzas they ordered with the hashtag #IStandWithPapaJohns.
John Schnatter is punishing his employees for his own greed, ignorance, and hate. #BoycotPapaJohns
— serious fun (@seriousfun8309) November 10, 2012
— Erin Haust (@erinhaust) November 11, 2012
Huffington Post – Medical Pot User Turned In By Pizza Delivery Man (VIDEO)
Democratic Underground – About boycotts of Papa Johns, Applebee’s, etc. . . .
Christian Post – Papa Johns Boycott: Outrage Over Obama Reelection Job Threats
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