Papa Johns CEO Now Targeting Journalists Over Their Obamacare Coverage

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of fairness, Papa John’s representative offered this as its reasoning for why our coverage of the matter should be unpublished, which we’ll share here: “What [Schnatter] said, in response to an investor call, was the company estimated that Obamacare would result in an increased cost to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. 

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.


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  • emmitt

    lol, how funny, that is exactly what I said above, but much longer version I suppose.

  • emmitt

    LMAO, some small minded, non-business people of course, would never understand the simple fact that the bottom line of what he is saying is that his company WILL NOT provide health care for employees, as many companies are doing. I am a manager in a 5,000+ size company and I never thought they would do that same thing, along with so many companies, especially all the larger retail/fast food/department stores etc. I thought the company I was working for was more liberal minded, Pro-Obama Care, NOT. They supported Obama until the health care bill anyway. They told us 3 months ago not to hire a single full time person going forward so when the year rolls forward, the current full time will be very few and the ones left will see their hours decline..
    I cant wait for all the supporters of this see just how much it is about to cost them between new taxes, the cost of the health care itself, which will be more than Blue Cross anyway, will not save money. Not to mention, most of the Bill's support came because of the provision that mandated people with pre-existing conditions must be insured, now that has to be removed because it is unsustainable for the patient and the government can not pay it either due to astronomical costs.
    Will most likely hurt the supporters a whole lot worse than it will the ones that did not support it because they see what's coming…… lol Can't wait.

  • bcmugger

    What a BS article and proof with the picture that you commie leftists have no clue how business works.

  • stephanwhite

    Now, in an effort to employ standard Republican PR efforts, Papa Johns CEO John Schnatter is apparently trying to re-write history.

    Public Relations

  • Papa John's political shenanigans have guaranteed I'll never pay for another bite of their crappy pizza ever again

  • Papa John's political shenanigans have guaranteed I'll never pay for another bite of their crappy pizza ever again

  • haha… here's some rope guys! Why don't you go hang yourselves with it… OH, my bad, you're already doing that JUST FINE! 🙂

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