Papa Johns CEO Now Targeting Journalists Over Their Obamacare Coverage

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Papa Johns CRO Now Targeting Journalists
First he tried to fight Obamacare by threatening to cut employee hours and raise pizza prices. When the furor over that debacle began to die down, Papa Johns CEO John Schnatter decided to give away two million free pizzas to Super Bowl fans despite his claims of financial hardship caused by the new federal heath care law. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, the mainstream media began fact-checking the conservative CEO’s claims and reporting on the falsehoods Schnatter continually repeated in his argument against offering his employees adequate health coverage. In fact, CNN broke down the argument piece by piece and systematically proved that the Papa Johns “required cost increase” claim was completely false
Fast forward a few months. Now – in an effort to employ standard Republican PR efforts, Papa Johns CEO John Schnatter is apparently trying to re-write history. According to a recent story at the Stabley Times, Papa Johns has hired a PR firm to harass journalists in to removing all mentions of the Obamacare price-raising and employee hour-cutting. They said:

Last week Stabley Times relayed the fact that CNN did an investigative report into claims on the part of Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter that ObamaCare would increase the cost of his pizzas by eleven cents or more. This week a public relations firm representing Papa John’s and Schnatter asked us to unpublish the story. The firm, Sitrick, claims that Schnatter’s now infamous remarks from last fall were taken out of context. It also admits that it’s spent the past several months asking those journalists who’ve reported on the matter to remove their coverage, and brags that “in virtually all of these cases, we have been dealing with responsible journalists who have done just that.” In reference to why Papa John’s would come after a publication like ours for simply relaying something that CNN had reported about the pizza chain, the PR firm claims that it “somehow missed the CNN story about which you wrote.” This despite the fact that CNN first aired the clip in August of last year, and has since become the most often cited proof that Schnatter’s claims of increased costs were dishonest… 

In the interest of fairness, Papa John’s representative offered this as its reasoning for why our coverage of the matter should be unpublished, which we’ll share here: “What [Schnatter] said, in response to an investor call, was the company estimated that Obamacare would result in an increased cost to the company of approximately 11 cents to 14 cents per pizza, ‘but our business model and unit economics are about as ideal as you can get for a food company to absorb Obamacare, ergo, we have a high ticket average with extremely high frequency of order counts, millions of pizzas per year.’” The pizza chain appears to be attempting to split hairs as to whether Schnatter claimed he would actually raise prices as a result of ObamaCare, or whether he would simply see his own costs rise and absorb the cost. But the research done by CNN makes clear that ObamaCare will not cause Papa John’s to see a cost increase of any kind, which means that in either case Schnatter’s claim is a false one…

Sitrick – the PR company hired by Papa Johns to rewrite journalistic history – didn’t even do their homework before harassing a media company to take down a story that merely reported on a larger media conglomerates take down. In trying to cover up their “oopsie” using a PR firm (rather than threaten media companies with lawyers – which would backfire even more), Papa Johns is creating yet another public relations disaster for themselves. 
For virtually his entire life, Tim has been writing. Over the years he’s dabbled in mainstream fiction, science fiction, dystopian fiction, and personal essays. The one consistent thread through his entire writing career has been blogging – he’s been doing it since 1997 in one form or another. In addition to writing Tim has frequently worked and volunteered as a civil rights advocate including on campus LGBT advocacy as well as interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.