BLOG– In a world where our POTUS has given the term “bad weeks” a new meaning, a close second would have to be John Schnatter’s fall from grace as CEO & Chairman of Papa John’s Pizza franchise. His pizza empire has lost over 30% of its value since his last November comment about the African-American players protesting police brutality and inequality by taking a knee during the national anthem. John called their protest and the NFL’s reaction a “debacle.” Our POTUS called them “sons-of-bitches” and told the nation he would “fire them all” if he owned a league franchise. To quote Schnatter, “Racism has no place in America.”
We agree with you, John. However, America was founded as a slave-owning nation, so it’s cast into our capitalist economic system.
Forbes initially broke the story after the media company hired to “train” the former CEO of Papa John’s how to speak in public canceled their contract:
In May, Schnatter participated in a conference call between Papa John’s executives and marketing agency Laundry Service. The call was intended as a role-playing exercise to help ensure that Schnatter wouldn’t make incendiary remarks in the future. Six months prior, he caused a public-relations flare-up after he referred to national anthem protests in the NFL as a “debacle.”
During the call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups. He responded by minimizing the significance of his NFL remarks. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” Schnatter said, before insisting that Sanders never faced public outcry.
For the record, Ball State University did nothing after his original remarks about the NFL even after they were warned about taking money from Schnatter and the Koch brothers to construct their new “Entrepreneurial Center” which caters to right-wing ideology. The Koch’s have pledged millions of dollars to push through Trump’s current SCOTUS pick who comes from a long history of defeating equal rights laws.
John Schnatter is also a member of the Koch brother’s American Legislative Exchange Council known as ALEC. ALEC is an off the grid business roundtable where corporate executives work with our elected legislators in closed room sessions to create boiler plated state and now federal laws. Not even the press is allowed to participate in these sessions, and of course, the media has no objection. Think, advertising revenue.
Of course, after the news broke, John Schnatter resigned his remaining post with the company and was quickly ditched by the University of Louisville’s board of trustees. The company’s stock dropped another 5%.
Oh wait, he had more to say on his phone call. John brought up his upbringing in Indiana and time spent in Muncie attending college at Ball State University.
In the same conversation, Schnatter also cited his upbringing in Indiana, where, he said, African-Americans were once dragged from trucks and killed. He apparently intended for the comments to illustrate his opposition to racist behavior. However, multiple individuals on the call found the graphic nature of his statements to be offensive, a source with knowledge of the event told Forbes. After hearing about the incident, Laundry Service owner Casey Wasserman moved to terminate the company’s contract with Papa John’s.
This poor guy is a flaming racist and just can’t help himself. His connection to the right-wing Koch’s who funnel billions of their wealth to fund the racist lunacy on the right is well documented. Despite student objections, Ball State took their money.
Ball State went to their local marketing firm, the Gannett owned, Muncie Star Press, to temper the public outcry. We let Unkoch My Campus know about it, so they responded on Twitter:
.@BallState yet to condemn @PapaJohns‘ Schnatter slur “It is premature for us to comment or act upon the specific incident involving John Schnatter,” as money flows to Schnatter centers at BSU, @uofl, @univofkentucky and @LifeAtPurdue https://t.co/dcJyJwJnGF @munciematters
— UnKoch My Campus (@UnKochCampus) July 12, 2018
And yes, Mitch Daniels at Purdue University also accepted money from John and the Koch brothers. Our public universities have sold out to corporatists all over the country who use their money to peddle their right-wing ideology to young minds. These corporatists feel that college campuses are too “liberal,” so they are just providing equal opportunity.
I’m not sure that giving these racists a forum or space on college campuses to peddle their hate is a public good. If Ball State University was a private college, they might be able to make that claim, but they’re not. They still receive over 33% of their funding from local taxpayers.
We go back to our original stance; Ball State needs to separate itself from the likes of John Schnatter and the infamous Koch brothers. The damage they’re doing to this country will take decades to undo.
Much of today’s racism is funded by these rich racists and as John has already mentioned, “Racism has no place in America.” It also doesn’t deserve to have its name on public buildings, no matter how much is “donated” to the university. It sends the wrong message to our youth who has embraced diversity.