Skip to main content Accessibility

Papa John’s, the latest company coopted by the white supremacist alt-right, asks Nazis not to buy its pizza

Pizza delivery behemoth Papa John’s — the official pizza of the National Football League — is scrambling after neo-Nazi white supremacist Andrew Anglin proclaimed it the “Official Pizza of the Aryan Master Race” on his embattled Daily Stormer website on November 3.

Anglin’s outspoken affection for the brand was spurred by what’s been described as a “rant” on Wednesday, November 1, by Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter in response to dwindling sales. Schnatter, who vocally opposed the Affordable Care Act and donated $1,000 to President Trump’s campaign, blamed sagging pie sales on the NFL and the ongoing player protests against police brutality and racism during the national anthem.

“We are totally disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago,” Schnatter said in a call with investors. “Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership.” Papa John’s is reportedly pulling some of its advertising during NFL games.

A Daily Stormer writer latched on and launched Pizzagate v2.0 the next day.

“So Papa John is a major, long-standing sponsor of the NFL. And yet even they’re panicked about what’s going on, fearing that the toxic feelings towards to [sic] sports organization might rub off on them. This is great,” the story read.

“This might be the first time ever in modern history that a major institution is going to be completely destroyed explicitly because of public outrage over their anti-White agenda. The fact that other companies are taking notice and adjusting their policies is a major turning point.”

One day later, Anglin penned his own endorsement, writing, “The time is now for the Aryan Master Race to rally around the Aryan Master Pizza and ensure their sales stay strong.”

Papa John’s understandably wigged out when it received news it’d been coopted by neo-Nazis. A spokesman for the pizza chain told the Louisville Courier-Journal, “We condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it. We do not want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza.”

Papa John’s is far from the first brand to have to decry its popularity among white supremacists. After the racist torch march in Charlottesville the night before the “Unite the Right” rally in August, torch manufacturer TIKI Brand said on its Facebook page, “We do not support their message or the use of our products in any way.”

The phenomenon isn’t new: racist skinheads have long preferred Dr. Martens boots and Fred Perry shirts (Fred Perry shirts have now been adopted by the Proud Boys, as well).

Other brands explicitly endorsed by white supremacists, as Papa John’s has been, have also pushed back against the racists who love their products.

Shortly after Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, a vice president of New Balance, the shoe company, told the Wall Street Journal, “The Obama administration turned a deaf ear to us and frankly, with President-elect Trump, we feel things are going to move in the right direction.” He was referring specifically to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, an Obama initiative which Trump opposed.

Here, too, Anglin pounced, declaring New Balance the “Official Shoes of White People” on the Daily Stormer. “Their brave act has just made them the official brand of the Trump Revolution,” he wrote.

New Balance was spurred to respond with a statement: “New Balance does not tolerate bigotry or hate in any form.”

Less than two months later, Wendy’s, the fast-food burger chain, was adopted by Anglin after its official Twitter account tweeted a Pepe the Frog meme with Pepe in red hair and pigtails, like the company mascot.

“Our community manager was unaware of the recent evolution of the Pepe meme’s meaning and this tweet was promptly deleted,” a subsequent tweet read.

Anglin wrote, “Wendy’s was always my personal favorite burger joint, but I never would have declared it the official burger of the Neo-Nazi Alt-Right movement — until now. Everyone knows that Pepe is a Nazi frog.”

On November 7, Anglin posted a story on the Daily Stormer titled, “Papa John’s Receives Massive Stock Confidence Boost After Alt-Right Endorsement.”

But “confidence boost” is an overstatement — he quotes a report saying certain stock market analysts have changed their rating for Papa John’s from “hold” to “buy,” but this is largely due to the stock’s much-diminished price. On November 8, MarketWatch showed a five-day loss of 8.08% per share for Papa John’s.

On a related front, Papa John’s competitor Pizza Hut is facing a supposed boycott from the alt-right after its CEO told investors it hadn’t seen any impact on sales from the NFL protest controversy. We’re sure Pizza Hut’s stockholders are quivering in fear

Comments or suggestions? Send them to Have tips about the far right? Please email: Have documents you want to share? Please visit: Follow us on Twitter @Hatewatch.