Papa John faces cancel culture reality, seeks redemption from trend that ‘hurts’ American freedom

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Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is challenging the plague of cancel culture on American lifestyle en route to recovery from his own notorious cancelation.

Schnatter told Fox News Digital at CPAC 2022 that Papa John’s was one of the first to take the hit of cancel culture and blamed the elite left for targeting the pizza chain for its “notoriety,” “influence” and embodiment of the American dream.

“The problem with cancel culture is it hurts our freedom, especially our freedom of speech. And there’s a reason why that’s the First Amendment to the Constitution,” he said. “And for those reasons, we were the first ones to take the hit… We were cancel culture before anybody knew what the heck it was.”

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In 2018, Schnatter was recorded during an intercompany conference call where he was caught saying the N-word. The founder soon after resigned and was swiftly erased from the franchise’s history.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 24: Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter attends the Indy 500 on May 23, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 24: Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter attends the Indy 500 on May 23, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Schnatter has since taken legal action against his former marketing agency Laundry Service for allegedly setting up the scandal. The embattled entrepreneur encouraged others who have fallen victim to cancel culture to push back against any false narratives.

“Get on it,” he asserted. “Squash it before that false narrative gets out because journalistic integrity, especially from the mainstream media, is a thing of the past. It’s a thing of the past, and people will believe it when it’s not true. So, if it’s false, set the record straight and squash it early on, so you don’t let it grow and infect your future reputation.”

Schnatter shared his concern for the mainstream media’s dishonesty, considering the left’s elitist agenda “horrific” and “inhumane” for using liberal outlets as puppets – but the American public, he said, is starting to notice.

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“That’s a beautiful thing about free markets is that people sooner or later are going to always gravitate towards the facts, the analytics and the truth,” he said. “The left has nothing to stand on. Their ideology doesn’t work, and they’re dishonest about it. The right has liberty, freedoms, work ethic, family. The right has an abundance of good issues that are pro-American, pro-worker and bring everybody’s level of happiness and prosperity up.”

The pizza guru has recently caught attention for his active Tik Tok account where he posts pizza reviews and participates in viral trends. Schnatter explained that even though he’s having fun creating content, the video sharing app is also lending him a direct window to his followers and supporters – a window he argued might have saved his reputation years prior.

“[Papa John’s] had no social media presence when this all went down three years ago,” he said. “And so when all this popped up, people really didn’t know me as a person, so they just assume… the worst, frankly. We’re up to close to a million folks on our social media. They know me… They get to feel me. Feel my energy. Feel my soul. And if they pulled this stunt today that they did three years ago, my social media military would be on this.”

Schnatter agreed that his enhanced Tik Tok presence could serve as a personal means of redemption, hoping that his followers get to know the real John.

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“They know I have faults. That’s ok… The only difference between me and anybody else is nothing. You know, my problems are just on a bigger scale,” he said. “I feel like redemption’s probably a good word, but I feel like my friends and my followers on social media will protect me when the chips are down. And that means something to me.”

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