Papa John’s CEO Apologizes for Employee’s Racist Rant

As if racial tensions in Sanford, Florida weren’t already on high pending the start of George Zimmerman’s trial in a few weeks. In comes a story of racism from he tiny town that probably will not help matters. As the story goes, a Papa John’s delivery driver inadvertently dialed the number of a customer to whom he had delivered some pizza. The call was recorded by the customer’s voicemail where Mr. Racist McBigot — that would be, the delivery driver — was caught saying some not-so-nice things about African-Americans. Oh, and did I mention that the customer in question was indeed an African-American? Uh-huh, apparently the delivery driver took issue with the tip given to him by the customer. The customer tipped the driver $5.00 on a $15.21 order, which according to the driver, wasn’t enough and typical of “niggers.”

“That’s the only requirement for being a nigger in Sanford,” the driver jokingly tells a co-worker, while complaining about the tip. “Yeah, they gave me five bucks there. Fine, outstanding African-American gentleman of the community.” He also added that the customer was, “so black, fireflies follow him around in the daytime.” To which was met with laughter by co-workers who I assume were all white.

papa-johns-ceoYeah, definitely not a good look for the Papa John’s franchise. That is unless you’re one of those people who relishes a slice of the Papa’s finest with an extra topping of racism. Nonetheless, the actions of the delivery driver came to light after the customer posted the now-viral video to YouTube; and, the delivery driver (and another employee) has since been relieved of his duties as he should have been.

This from CNN:

(CNN) — The CEO of pizza giant Papa John’s has apologized to a Sanford, Florida, customer after a delivery man accidentally dialed the customer and left a racist rant on the man’s voice mail.

The apology came after a customer posted on YouTube a video of the voice mail message, which featured the delivery man using racial slurs as he complained to another Papa John’s employee about the size of tips he receives from African-Americans.

The customer, who is not identified and is not shown on camera, shows the receipt for $15.26 and said he gave the delivery man a $5 tip — more than 20% — on Sunday. Then the customer plays the roughly four-minute message.

“I guess that’s the only requirement for being a (n-word) in Sanford,” the driver told a colleague. “… Yeah, they give me five bucks there — fine outstanding African-American gentleman of the community.”

The driver’s colleague can be heard laughing.

During the message, the delivery man can be heard singing the racial slur repeatedly.

The video went viral, generating an outcry on social media. Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter took to social media, posting an apology on Facebook and Twitter for “the reprehensible language used by two former employees.”

“Their thinking and actions defy both my personal and the company’s values and everything for which this company stands. The employees responsible for this absolutely unacceptable behavior were immediately terminated,” Schnatter wrote on Monday.

“My heartfelt apology goes out to the customer involved, his family, and our community at large. I am very sorry that anyone would be exposed to these hurtful and painful words by any person involved in any way with our company.”

Schnatter said he also personally reached out to the customer to “share my own thoughts and offer my deepest apology.”

The incident came as Sanford remains in the national spotlight because of the 2012 shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

The shooting raised questions about race relations and sparked large protest in Sanford after police declined to arrest George Zimmerman, who said he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman goes to trial next month on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the killing.

Do I smell a protest Coming?
Do I smell a protest Coming?

Personally, I’m glad that Papa John’s took swift action to resolve what may have been a major public relations nightmare. The last thing anyone needs is a race riot in a sleepy, but kinda-sorta-racist town in Florida just weeks before George Zimmerman goes to trial for killing Trayvon Martin.

No I’ve never worked in the food industry, or at any job where tips were appreciated. That said, I can’t speak to the validity of the claim that black folks are cheap when it comes to tipping. For all I know, that negative stereotype (are there ever any positive ones?) is yet another one on the long list of things that are bad about black folks. But be that as it may, the story above, in my mind, exposes what very ignorant white people do when they think that nobody is looking. In my mind, all racist white people get together behind closed doors to sing songs about “niggers,” even at work.

I’m not sure whether the delivery driver will be eligible for unemployment benefits. But in the event that he isn’t, I’m pretty sure he can set up a website like George Zimmerman and raise a small fortune to assist in his time of inconvenience. Yep, all racists tend to stick together.

Watch the customer’s video below: