After Papa John’s founder John Schnatter left the company’s board of directors for using racist language last week, conservatives online found a new cause: defending his right to use racist language.
Schnatter was revealed to use the n-word on a company phone call—ironically about sensitivity training—and was immediately removed from the company’s board of directors. His name was also stripped from the stadium at the University of Louisville, where he was a major donor, and sports leagues ended in-stadium promotions with the brand.
Now, on Twitter, some conservatives want you to know that Papa John did nothing wrong and are buying the pizza to support it.
The charge was led by Nicholas Fuentes, a right-leaning online rabble-rouser.
The argument, which crops up again and again on First Amendment Absolutist Twitter, is that conservatives feel it is OK to use language like Schnatter did and that liberal outrage over these incidents are curbing their right to free speech.
Followers of Fuentes quickly joined in.
— Freddy (@LextersDab) July 14, 2018
Then Fuentes’ own green pepper placement became a meme.
'yeah uh green peppers but just fuck it all up' https://t.co/ct4iOUdEcu
— zeddy (@Zeddary) July 16, 2018
"Yeah, can I get uhhhhh green peppers thrown in the general direction of the pizza?" https://t.co/84BGlOJ1yg
— Jeremy "No Fun Name In Winter" Bearimy (@NeverOnBrand) July 16, 2018
As well as the fact that taking a public pro-Papa John’s stance—with your wallet nonetheless—was just another way to tacitly endorse racism.
Imagine hating black people so much that you’re intentionally eating terrible pizza to show it. https://t.co/mvnICFmlEs
— SS3 (@TheNerdyEsq) July 16, 2018
Eating terrible pizza to own the libs https://t.co/QIBC8t29L3
— os (@yoomarscomin) July 16, 2018
Except that… Schnatter was removed as CEO in January for saying that the NFL protests of the national anthem, predominantly by people of color, were hurting his sales. He then resigned from the board of directors after this latest incident.
So, not only does he have almost no affiliation with the company anymore, the purpose of this movement is antithetical to the actions being taken: By purchasing pizzas from the company that has fought Schnatter every time he has done something racist and offensive, conservatives are supporting the company that makes the exact argument they are professing to disdain.