They're selling a large 1-topping pizza with T-Swift's new album, 'Red'
Certain members here on staff are a bit miffed that Taylor Swift's new super-pop album "Red" is not yet available on Spotify, which means we might just order Papa John's for this deal (blasphemy in New York, we know).
The pizza chain is offering a large pizza with T-Swizzle's new album until Oct. 28 for $22, a pretty sweet deal if you consider the album is $14.99 on iTunes. Papa John's is also giving out a 10 percent discount on other Swift goodies, like a Swift-imprinted cup, a "special note" from Swift, or a signed CD insert.
As Grub Street points out, Jay-Z did a similar food-related gig when "Decoded" was released in 2010, but this pizza thing is pretty genius. We can think of a few ways to take advantage of the deal. Scenario A: Get a bunch of teenage girls to listen to Swift's new album with a pizza and some other slumber party activities. Scenario B: Listen to the album by yourself and drown your emotions with melted cheese and carbs.
HOT DISH: Taylor Swift Making Media Rounds to Promote Red
( CMT Hot Dish is a weekly feature written by veteran columnist Hazel Smith. Author of the cookbook, Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ With Country Stars , she also hosts CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith and shares her recipes at CMT .com.)
“Grandma, wait until you see who is on the cover of the pizza box!” said Trevor in his not-at-all soft voice. Yes, it is Taylor Swift on the cover of Papa John pizza boxes.
Taylor’s new album, Red , arrives in stores Monday (Oct. 22). Paid song downloads from the album already top 3.8 million in advance of its release. Her single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” is certified double platinum for 2 million downloads.
She has more than 19.7 million Twitter followers and 34.9 million Facebook “likes,” and all of her friends will be following her as she embarks on a heavy media schedule to promote the new album.
On Monday and Tuesday, she’ll be in New York’s Times Square for appearances on Good Morning America . She’ll perform Tuesday on The Late Show With David Letterman . Her Wednesday schedule includes a visit to ABC’s The View for a performance and chat, and she will appear Thursday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show .
And if that’s not enough, she will guest Friday on ABC’s Katie with Katie Couric and will be featured that night on ABC’s All Access Nashville With Katie Couric — A Special Edition of 20/20 . Also this week, look for Taylor on Entertainment Tonight , Access Hollywood , E! News and Extra .
She’s on the cover of the current issues of Rolling Stone , Glamour and the UK edition of Marie Claire .
Jamey Johnson Celebrates Arrival of Hank Cochran Tribute Album
A week of super entertainment — that’s what it was. Before we could catch our breath from watching The Late Show With David Letterman , where Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss blew America away with their performance of the Hank Cochran-penned “Make the World Go Away,” there was more Jamey and Alison.
Celebrating Tuesday’s (Oct. 16) release of his excellent new album, Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran , Jamey booked a concert for that night at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Several of his pals came onboard to appear with him at the show, including Alison. They reprised their Letterman performance by opening the concert with “Make the World Go Away,” following it up with “I Fall to Pieces,” the masterpiece Hank and the late Harlan Howard co-wrote for Patsy Cline.
WSM/Nashville radio personality Eddie Stubbs kept the party mood going with guests like Willie Nelson, Ronnie Dunn and Emmylou Harris. The show was short, but when it ended, Jamey took a seat on the back steps of the Ryman to sign autographs, pose for photos and talk to fans for as long as they wanted.
When the music stopped at the Ryman, my friends Gina and Eugene traipsed off down Broadway to Robert’s Western Wear, where Marty Stuart’s incredible guitarist Kenny Vaughn was showing the friends and neighbors “how we pick guitar in Music City.”
I love watching Vaughn play his guitar on Marty Stuart’s TV show. He is so much like Luther Perkins, the guitar player showcased during Johnny Cash’s early career. I’m sure Marty noticed that, but maybe young Marty never saw Luther play in person.
Kenny Chesney, Emeril Lagasse Party Across the Border
Did I tell you about Kenny Chesney going to Mexico another time for Sammy Hagar’s birthday? A four-day party kept Kenny on hold down there recently. Of course, this was the first year they had an international chef on the premises.
Would you believe? It was Chef Emeril Lagasse, my longtime friend. We first met when he came to my kitchen and chowed down on North Carolina Thanksgiving rations — chicken and dressing casserole, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, stewed tomatoes, sweet potato casserole, collard greens, Hazel’s chutney, deviled eggs, fried cornbread and, for dessert, banana pudding.
That started a brand new life for me. Here’s the story:
When Lagasse did his “Crossing America” journey for his television show, his producer called a friend of mine simply inquiring, “Where is the best place in Nashville to eat?” The producer was looking for a restaurant, but my friend answered, “Hazel Smith’s kitchen.”
It was a Friday afternoon when two of Emeril’s producers showed up at my house. I sat in my rocking chair while we chatted. I explained to the ladies that I’d never seen Emeril’s show on the Food Network. I called my son, Billy, who helps me in all these endeavors. Fortunately, Billy had seen the show and suggested I cook for Emeril.
On Monday morning, Emeril stepped in my kitchen for what turned out to be the beginning of a long and wonderful friendship. He smacked his mouth when he ate my cooking — a sure sign the food is tasty. Eventually, Emeril flew me to New York City (first class!) and put me up in a mighty fine hotel and had me come to his kitchen where he had 87 employees doing Billy’s job!
Of great importance — and don’t you ever forget — this is where Brad Paisley comes in. Brad was the very first country music artist to perform on Food Network. I always tell Brad, “Me and you took country music to the Food Network in New York City.” And we did. Brad struck a home run for Emeril and his people and for himself.
Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show debuted shortly after my appearance on Emeril’s series, and someone who worked for her show saw me. The next thing I know, Ellen is flying me to Los Angeles to appear on her show.
Meanwhile, tapes were made of me with Emeril and Ellen, and CMT looked at them and hired me for CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith . That was seven years ago, and we’ve shot every month since that time, except for one when I was recovering from surgery.
I have been richly blessed. We shoot the CMT show in my kitchen — once we move dining room furniture to the living room!
Darius Rucker Inducted as Opry Member
Vince Gill did the honor last week when Darius Rucker was inducted as an official member of the Grand Ole Opry. It was Brad Paisley who asked Darius a couple of weeks back if he wanted to become an Opry member. The always-smiling Darius had to dry some tears that night. We are so proud of him.
Prediction About Luke Bryan Coming True
Two years ago, I predicted Luke Bryan was looking to take over where Kenny Chesney left off. How right was I? 100 percent.
You fans go out and see what a fine singer, songwriter and entertainer the farm boy from Georgia has turned out to be. His first headlining tour kicks off in January with openers Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line. His fourth annual Farm tour more attracted more than 100,000 — doubled the attendance for last year’s shows.
And he and his label, Capitol Nashville, treated fans to a free concert Wednesday night (Oct. 17) during the annual Capitol Street Party in downtown Nashville. Dierks Bentley made a surprise appearance, joining Luke on Brooks & Dunn’s “My Next Broken Heart” during the concert that also featured labelmates Kelleigh Bannen and Jon Pardi.
Keith Urban to Receive Harmony Award
Keith Urban will receive the Nashville Symphony’s 2012 Harmony Award at the Symphony Ball on Dec. 8 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Each year, the award goes to an individual who exemplifies the harmonious spirit of Nashville’s thriving musical community.
Keith has been a vital force in this community. What he brings to the table includes his passion for the music and his involvement in the symphony’s activities. He also provides support to a number of charities, including his own We’re All for the Hall concerts, an annual event that has raised millions of dollars for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. He has donated to many other causes and continues to help wherever he’s needed.
Trace Adkins Returns to Bite the Big Apple
Trace Adkins is set to go to New York City for another try at winning Donald Trump’s favor on Celebrity Apprentice . Trace chose the American Red Cross as his charity. Of course he did! They were first on the scene when the Adkins’ home was burned to the ground.
Pizza Hut is offering 50 percent off all online and mobile orders
It’s only a couple days into the new year, and Pizza Hut is killing our diets already. From now until January 8, the brand is offering 50 percent off any menu-priced pies when customers order from PizzaHut.com or through the mobile app. The discount does not apply to other menu items, tax, delivery charge, or driver tip.
“The holidays are over, but entertaining season is in full swing. And we’re kicking off 2018 with a deal that helps slow the spending, but not the fun,” Pizza Hut vice president of marketing Zipporah Allen said in a release. “Whether celebrating the start of Hollywood’s award season, or tapping the Official Pizza of the NCAA for a college football championship party, Pizza Hut’s online deal makes it easy to serve great-tasting pizza for an affordable price.”
Each online or mobile pizza order is eligible for 50 percent off as well as for Hut Rewards - the only national pizza loyalty program that rewards customers with unlimited points toward free pizza for every dollar spent on food online. For more on the Texas-based chain, here are 25 things you didn’t know about Pizza Hut.
The Uncanny Weirdness of Papa John Schnatter’s Downfall
We hereby declare Tuesday, August 28, to be Pizza Day, a day to celebrate all the magic (and marinara) of one of earth’s greatest foods. To be completely honest, Pizza Day was originally meant to be timed to the release of the pizza-themed romantic comedy Little Italy, starring Emma Roberts and Hayden Christensen when we realized that Little Italy hits theaters this week only in Canada, we said, “Eh, let’s celebrate pizza in August anyway.” Who needs an excuse to honor pizza, right?
Nine months ago, national pizza chain Papa John’s released a dispiriting third-quarter earnings report that sent the company’s stock into a spiral, which decreased in value by more than 10 percent in a single morning. Company founder and then-CEO John Schnatter blamed the drop on the NFL’s inability to end player protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Papa John’s is an NFL sponsor.
“The NFL has hurt us,” Schnatter said on a conference call. “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”
Schnatter’s comments only added controversy to the financial loss, and his company hired the marketing agency Laundry Service, whose other clients have included NBC Sports, Nike, Bud Light, Twitter, and T-Mobile, to help its founder avoid future gaffes. In May, Laundry Service put Schnatter through a role-playing exercise, asking him a hypothetical question on a conference call about how he’d deal with potential connections to racist online groups—not an unreasonable scenario, given that issues of race and racism are at the heart of the NFL police brutality protests and the backlash to them. In the course of his answer, Schnatter uttered the now-immortal statement: “Colonel Sanders called blacks niggers.”
Two months later, Forbes published the substance of the call, Schnatter admitted that he’d used the worst word that white Americans can use, and he then resigned as chairman.
Schnatter’s wealth, antipathy for protests against police brutality, and free use of the N-word in a professional situation make it easy to draw the conclusion that Schnatter is just another American blossoming at the intersection of unfettered capitalism and unabashed racism. After all, that intersection is a particularly prosperous one nowadays. On some level, there isn’t much more to this story than that.
But the part of Schnatter’s quote I can’t get out of my head isn’t the word that got him in trouble: It’s “Colonel Sanders.”
The pastor of the church I grew up in was fond of the phrase “transcendently wealthy.” The Bible is full of stories about rich folks, both flattering and not, so the topic of transcendent wealth came up a lot. Most of the time, “transcendently wealthy” was just a flowery way of saying “filthy stinkin’ rich,” but Schnatter’s public disgrace made me start to think about the phrase in a more literal sense.
Specifically, is it possible to transcend one’s humanity through wealth?
In November, just after Papa John’s stock swooned, Forbes estimated Schnatter’s wealth at a hair over $800 million, down from his personal high of more than $1 billion in March 2017, but still more money than the richest few hundred people you know put together. The personal wealth of the rentier class doesn’t work the same way the personal wealth of ordinary blue-collar or even white-collar people does. At no point could Schnatter have hopped in his Camaro, driven to the bank, and asked to withdraw $800 million the way you or I could empty our checking accounts if we were so inclined. Wealth in the hundreds of millions of dollars is tied up in stock, real estate, and other investment properties that serve to turn huge sums of money into even huger sums. When you get as rich as Schnatter, money stops being used the way it was designed to be.
Money is a social construct of convenience cash is easier to transport and store than the equivalent in cattle or rice or cotton. Its fixed value and easy divisibility allows us to shop for whatever goods and services we need or want, and for people to devote their careers to pursuits that are not strictly necessary for base human survival but valuable enough for someone to pay for the service: like journalism, for instance, or pizza delivery.
Cash allows us to purchase that which we need to operate in society: food, shelter, transportation, clothing, communications. Assemble enough cash and you’ll want to put it in a bank and spend it on nicer food, a bigger house, a cooler car and put some away for retirement or a rainy day. That’s as far as most of us get—even people we think of as rich, like most pro athletes and entrepreneurs. Money is still just a thing to buy stuff with, even for people who have lots of it.
But at some point, after you’ve purchased an 18,000-square-foot house and put out a $250,000 reward to buy back the beloved car you had to sell when you were 22, your house and car and food and clothes can get only so nice. You run out of stuff to spend your money on, and money becomes its own end, like points on a scoreboard.
What would you do with $800 million, if you could just walk up to the bank and ask for a literal truckload of cash? Maybe you’d buy as nice a car as you could imagine. Plus clothes, jewelry, and art, and store them all in a house so big and ornate you’d get lost trying to find the bathroom in the middle of the night. I’d have an Olympic-size ice rink in my basement, but perhaps you’d rather have indoor tennis courts or a movie theater—or for $800 million you could buy them all. You could take the trip you’ve always wanted to take to Monaco or Macau or outer space. You could climb K2, take up parasailing, or play the 100 best golf courses in the world.
But there’s a limit to how much stuff you’d actually want to buy and use, even with practically unlimited funds. Eventually, you’d run out of things to spend the money on and probably start giving it away—buying your parents a nicer house, paying off your friends’ student loans, and writing seven- or eight-figure checks to charity.
Ideally, that limit would be codified somewhere, and as a society we’d say, “If you have more money than you can ever spend, then this much goes to build schools and heal the sick.” But in the absence of such a limit, some people just try to amass as much money as they can, long beyond the point where it all becomes theoretical.
In 2012—and in direct reference to using tax money to heal the sick—Schnatter spoke out against the Affordable Care Act, claiming that the cost of insuring all of Papa John’s full-time employees would come out to about 14 cents per large pizza. Schnatter’s remarks generated a huge backlash from people who didn’t even stop to ask obvious questions like “Why should the CEO of a billion-dollar company pass the cost of legal compliance on to his consumers?” or “Does saving 14 cents per pizza come close to offsetting the money I’d save under the ACA as a working American?” Instead, they lined up to insist that health insurance for every full-time Papa John’s employee would be a steal at twice the price.
Some of the scoreboard rich, like Miami Marlins owner and hedge fund vampire Bruce Sherman, stay out of the spotlight, content to run up the score in the background while frontmen soak up public criticism. Others explore the boundaries of transcendent wealth—or of transcendence through wealth. In some cases, this means literal transcendence through Kurzweilian transhumanism or something similar. Others try to transcend the limitations of fame and influence placed upon ordinary humans—even very rich ones. Elon Musk, a man who recently plunged his own company into chaos by botching a joke about marijuana, attempts to portray himself as a visionary leader and thinker, as Steve Jobs once did. These people use their wealth to gain fame and influence while at the same time attempting to build a reputation that would justify amassing that much wealth in the first place.
Jobs was particularly successful in that respect—he became a metonym for Apple’s brand of hip bourgeois minimalism, dressed in his signature uniform of black mock turtleneck and Levi’s. Jobs’s clothing became part of his brand. Just like Colonel Sanders.
It’s telling that Schnatter chose Colonel Sanders as an example, and not other fast food tycoons, like Dave Thomas or Ray Kroc, or whoever the hell founded Pizza Hut or Domino’s. Colonel Sanders wore his signature white suit, bolo tie, Van Dyke, and glasses every day for 20 years, and was buried in his signature getup. Crucially, he’s the only founder who doubles as his company’s mascot—almost 40 years after his death, Colonel Sanders, not a Chihuahua or a clown, is still the face of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
It’s understandable that Schnatter would want to be so involved, since rather than buying or inheriting a business, he really did build the company from modest origins. When Schnatter was just out of college, his father, Robert Schnatter, invested in a failing bar, Mick’s Lounge, and Schnatter fils, who’d worked in pizza joints throughout high school and college, set up some used kitchen equipment in a converted broom closet and within months had his own booming pizza business, which eventually grew into a multibillion-dollar company.
The creation myths of most self-made millionaires are thick with elided details, and Schnatter’s is no different. A 2009 Associated Press article says Schnatter sold his beloved Camaro in 1983 for $2,800 and “the money helped save his father’s tavern in Jeffersonville, and he used the rest to start what would become the worldwide pizza business.” A 2013 Louisville Courier Journal profile of Schnatter fills in the rest of the story: The failing Mick’s Lounge was just one of a number of businesses owned by Robert Schnatter, who let John run the establishment at age 22. (John Schnatter described his upbringing as “upper-middle class.”) The sale of the Camaro funded only part of Schnatter’s nascent pizza empire—he needed a $3,500 bank loan, cosigned by a wealthy uncle, to buy out the Mick of Mick’s Lounge and start his pizza empire. Building Papa John’s, even with that leg up, was still an impressive feat of entrepreneurship, but the truth isn’t quite as romantic as the legend.
Schnatter’s evolution into Papa John started as savvy branding. I wouldn’t trust 22-year-old John Schnatter of Jeffersonville, Indiana, to make world-class pizza, but “Papa John’s Pizza” sounds authentic enough. By the time Schnatter’s company went public and turned into a national chain, he was old enough to become the “Papa” himself, and his red bowling shirt became his version of Jobs’s turtleneck or Sanders’s white suit.
With its red, white, and green branding and a grinning, dark-haired “Papa” at the helm, the Kentucky-based pizza conglomerate became a national casual-dining giant, purporting (accurately, in my limited experience) to serve “better pizza” than Domino’s, Pizza Hut, or Little Caesars. And Schnatter became synonymous with the company.
Papa John’s marketed heavily in the sports world, becoming the official pizza of the NFL and renaming the grand slam the “Papa Slam” in certain official MLB contexts. Schnatter himself donated $14 million to the University of Louisville (with the company paying another $6 million), paying for facilities upgrades and receiving the stadium’s naming rights in return. (Schnatter is an avid Louisville Cardinals fan.) Schnatter did TV commercials with Peyton Manning, who became a Papa John’s franchisee, and got access to the inner circles of American sports. Smart marketing, yes, but more than anything else a cool perk for a CEO running out of things to buy with his money.
“Papa” started out as a branding technique, a way to convey a friendly and (crucially for a pizza chain in the Louisville suburbs) Italian American patriarch manning the oven. It came to mean something closer to “Il Papa,” the Pope, both leader and figurehead.
When a corporate officer resigns in disgrace, the company usually moves on, particularly if that officer is a traditional suit-wearing CEO. But not if the CEO wears a bowling shirt or a turtleneck, not if he’s a self-appointed visionary who is both man and mascot. At some point, Schnatter became Papa John Schnatter, and being the company gave him things that merely owning the company did not. Extricating the man from the company has not proved easy. Papa John’s released a treacly minute-long apology ad, backed by tinkling piano and some traffic-like noise, thanking customers for voicing their dissatisfaction.
Meanwhile, Schnatter has taken to a website called SavePapaJohns.com, which features a photo of Il Papa smiling into the camera, arms folded across his chest, confident as ever. Only he’s traded in his trademark red bowling shirt for a black point-collar dress shirt, swapping his cloak of office for more subdued civilian clothing.
Schnatter’s new website is essentially a blog. “The Board wants to silence me. So this is my website, and my way to talk to you,” the homepage reads in red lettering. SavePapaJohns.com features links to news coverage, press releases, and copies of court filings in Schnatter’s battle to regain control of the company he founded. It resembles any one of dozens of websites devoted to the cause of keeping Fox from canceling Firefly, and will likely be no more successful.
From down here in the petit bourgeoisie, Schnatter’s website looks undignified, and more than a little desperate. Schnatter did something a white American in public life can never, ever do—use a racial epithet within earshot of a microphone—and his company and the public at large merely want him to go away and never be heard from again, with probably less than a billion dollars but definitely more money than he can ever spend. Schnatter’s punishment is to live exactly the life I’d want to live, if I were to win the Powerball tomorrow.
Column: They signed a contract on a Papa John’s franchise. Then controversy erupted
It seemed like a good idea three years ago, when Jarvis and Josslyn Young first considered opening a Papa John’s pizza franchise in South Los Angeles.
The View Park couple — he’s an aerospace engineer, she’s a real estate broker — figured it would help support their growing family, bring a fresh dining option to a neglected neighborhood and satisfy Jarvis’ craving for the pizza he’d loved since he was a UCLA student two decades ago.
6:29 PM, Jan. 13, 2020 The headline has been changed to more accurately reflect the local debate surrounding the opening of a Papa John’s franchise. The column has been updated to reflect comments from John Schnatter, Papa John’s founder and former chief executive.
Because Papa John’s didn’t deliver to their neighborhood, Jarvis had spent years making evening runs to the Culver City outlet, toting an insulated box to keep his pizza hot.
“We started thinking about how nice it would be to have one nearby, then to the idea that maybe we could own one,” he said. “The next thing we knew, we were on our way” to Louisville, Ky., for the training to become franchisees.
Papa John’s was riding high back then. It was the official pizza of the NFL, with legions of devotees, when the Youngs signed on in 2017.
But the ink was barely dry on their franchise contract when racially offensive remarks by Papa John founder and Chief Executive John Schnatter turned the pizza chain into a national pariah.
In November 2017, Schnatter launched a tirade against the NFL for not cracking down on players’ take-a-knee protests against police brutality. He blamed his chain’s declining pizza sales on the turmoil the protests provoked.
Schnatter didn’t single out black players, but we knew what he meant. I remember feeling outraged by his arrogance: The protests should have been “nipped in the bud,” he said, to avoid “polarizing the customer.”
The furor his remarks generated forced Schnatter to step down as CEO. But several months later, as chairman of Papa John’s board, he drew fire again for using a vile racial epithet on a conference call that had been convened to help clean up his image.
When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online during the recorded call, Schnatter complained that he was being unfairly scrutinized. “Colonel Sanders called blacks …,” using the n-word, and escaped public backlash, he claimed.
Once his language became public, Schnatter apologized, resigned from the board and severed his ties with the pizza chain he’d launched 35 years ago in his father’s bar.
In a letter to The Times following publication of this column, Schnatter said his comments were mischaracterized. He said he did not launch a tirade but criticized the NFL for “poor leadership” and said “there was never a whiff of bias or prejudice in my comments.” He claimed the use of the n-word during the call was a paraphrase of a third party. He noted his “disgust for the use” of the word.
By the time the second scandal broke in the summer of 2018, the Youngs were already in business. The n-word episode reignited fury and customers stopped coming. Their sales dropped immediately, by more than one-third.
The Youngs had considered backing out of the franchise deal when Schnatter made the comment. “I knew why people were angry,” Jarvis said. “We felt the same way. We would never want to be connected to something so disrespectful, something racist,” he said of the controversy.
But they had made a high-stakes commitment and couldn’t afford to lose the money they’d already invested. The franchising fee alone was $25,000, and other costs could exceed $300,000.
They took to heart Papa John’s response: The company had moved decisively to dump Schnatter, added NBA legend and former Laker Shaquille O’Neal to its corporate board and promised to support new franchisees.
Ultimately, the couple realized this was about more than pizza or profit. They’d both grown up in nearby Inglewood and wanted to be local role models, “to show that you can come from disadvantage and own your own business, chart your own course,” as Jarvis put it.
“We thought about this as a test of our personal philosophy,” he said. “Do you fold up, or do you see it through?”
So while white supremacist websites were calling Papa John’s the “official pizza of the alt-right,” Jarvis and Josslyn Young were setting up shop in a black neighborhood and hoping customers would have their back.
The Youngs’ store opened in February 2018 in a cramped strip mall on Crenshaw Boulevard near Hyde Park. Josslyn willed herself to be optimistic. She scoured the neighborhood for local hires. On social media she posted cheery “Grand Opening” invites.
But the response was swift and harsh. “There were so many nasty comments,” she recalled. “Don’t bring that racist company to our area. Why would black people want to own a franchise of racists?”
The ferocity of the attacks stunned her. “I had no idea what this would do to our business,” she said. “I was actually pretty excited, thinking that once people saw our faces, we could make this thing turn around.”
But when she shared that excitement with friends, they shut her down. “They kind of looked at me like, ‘Papa John’s? Are you kidding?’”
Some of her friends eventually lent support, but the community’s outrage was loud and prolonged.
The Youngs were cast as turncoats, propping up a company now known for the bigotry and bluster of its former leader, not its signature pizza.
People threw rocks at their delivery trucks and harassed their drivers. “They were cussing and honking their horns, saying, ‘Get out of the community! We don’t want you here!’” Josslyn recalled.
“Boycott Papa John’s” became an agenda item at community meetings. The Youngs would show up and make their case to angry neighbors. Most agreed not to call for a boycott but said they would never patronize their place.
“It’s been frustrating,” Josslyn admitted as she worked the counter in a Santa hat last month, one week before she was scheduled to give birth to the couple’s third child.
They’ve been on the grind for 22 months now. And some days it does feel as if a turnaround is on the horizon. New customers continue to trickle in.
Strangers admire their commitment to hiring locals that other businesses won’t, including recovering addicts and ex-convicts. Neighbors appreciate their donations to schools and community groups, and the toy giveaway and Santa visit they host every December.
“We’re moving past it,” Josslyn told me as she handed out gifts at the Christmas party. “Doing things in a way that was our goal from the jump: Serving the community.”
The entire company bore the brunt of Schnatter’s remarks. About a quarter of Papa John’s franchises failed to turn a profit last year, analysts said. New CEO Rob Lynch, who took the reins in August, told me the company is spending $40 million to help struggling franchisees.
“They’re losing school lunch accounts because school districts don’t want to be affiliated with our brand anymore, because of what John [Schnatter] did,” Lynch said.
And in the irony of unintended consequences, the fallout was particularly harsh for black employees and franchisees like the Youngs.
“We have African American employees working in a lot of our restaurants,” Lynch said. “We feel bad when they can’t even wear their uniforms to work and be proud of the company. They didn’t do anything to deserve that.”
That’s what persuaded Shaquille O’Neal to get involved. Like Jarvis Young, Shaq has been a fan of Papa John’s pizza since college. After Schnatter left the company, O’Neal reached out and asked to join the board. He also invested in nine Atlanta franchises.
“These franchisees put their heart and soul into this business,” he told me. “It’s not fair that they’re affected by what this one man said.”
I asked Shaq the same question the Youngs’ neighbors asked them. How does he handle the criticism his role with Papa John’s provokes: You’re a sellout, a lackey, an apologist for racism.
“I heard it a lot,” he acknowledged. “People say, ‘Man, what are you doing?’ I just try to explain, it’s under new leadership, it’s a different board, we’re going to make sure this never happens again.”
That’s a noble promise, but one that’s hard to keep. You can’t clean out all the bigots or scrub away the biases that animate our actions on the job.
Ask Starbucks or Nordstrom or Sephora. On any given day, any company might be just one rude clerk or tone-deaf CEO away from notoriety that’s hard to move past in today’s unforgiving cancel culture.
I understand the impulse to wipe Papa John’s off the map. I could add it to the list of companies I don’t patronize and shows I won’t watch. But I also feel encouraged by the remedies they took — and empowered by the message that angry customers sent.
I know that despite the textbook-perfect corporate response, the psychic pain that lingers on the streets is hard to disperse.
People I talked to at the Christmas party who patronize the Youngs’ shop didn’t want to give their names that reflects the depth of the anger that still surrounds them.
At this point, boycotting is counterproductive and apt to discourage other would-be business owners, they say. The bad man is gone. The pizza is good. And the company’s transgressions are almost 2 years old.
Influential folks are offering support. When a profile of the couple in a black community newspaper, the Los Angeles Standard, drew snarky comments on social media, publisher Jason Lewis came to their defense:
“We should get behind the Youngs because they are exactly what we complain that we don’t have in our communities,” Lewis wrote. “They stepped up, took the risk, and put their money where their mouth is.”
Still, I can’t help but wonder whether outrage has an expiration date. Can you punish the guilty yet insulate the innocent from blame? How long does it take for a stain to fade?
I was thinking of that as I left my visit to the Youngs’ Papa John’s with a pizza in hand. I’d never tasted the brand.
I stopped by my daughter’s to share it with my pizza-loving son-in-law. He took one look at the box and laughed. “It’s the n-word pizza,” he called out. Then he grabbed a slice and gobbled it up.
The perils of parenting through a pandemic
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During more than three decades at the Los Angeles Times, Sandy Banks has served as reporter, editor, editorial writer and internship director. But she’s best known for her personal columns, which focus on private lives, public policy and people who inspire and infuriate us. She returned to The Times in 2019 after a four-year hiatus. A Cleveland native, Banks has three grown daughters and lives in Northridge.
Offers good for a limited time at participating U.S. Papa John's restaurants. Prices may vary. Not valid with any other coupons or discounts. All beverage related trademarks are registered Trademarks of PepsiCo, Inc. Some offers require the purchase of multiple pizzas. Some offers may be available online only. No triple toppings or extra cheese. Certain toppings may be excluded from special offer pizzas or require additional charge. Additional toppings extra. Limit seven toppings to ensure bake quality. Limited delivery area. Delivery fee may apply and may not be subject to discount. Minimum purchase may be required for delivery. Customer responsible for all applicable taxes.
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Canada: Adults and youth (ages 13 and older) need an average of 2,000 calories a day, and children (ages 4 to 12) need an average of 1,500 calories a day. However, individual needs vary.
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Best National Pizza Day 2021 deals - including £10 off your next Domino’s order
Today could just be our favourite day - National Pizza Day. And what better way to celebrate than with a gorgeous pizza for dinner, or even lunch.
Now seeing as restaurants are still closed for a little while longer, we’ve found the best deals you can enjoy with your friends, family or just yourself - we won’t tell if you don’t.
From Pizza Hut to Pizza Express, Domino’s and more - here’s everything you need to know about getting your pizza even cheaper this evening.
And if all those deals weren’t enough to tempt you into a pizza for dinner, we have a way you can get £10 off your next Domino’s order - that’s almost a free pizza or at least, free side. How good is that?
The hardest decision you’ll have is where to get your takeaway from tonight, and what your toppings will be.
In honour of National Pizza Day, Domino’s has made Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays a Tuesday, for one week only. From Sunday 7th February, pizza lovers will be able to order a Domino’s pizza, and get another one completely free - perfect for sharing with all the family.
This offer lasts until Thursday 11th February. All you need to do is use the code: DOUBLEUP .
Purchases over £10 will still get £10 cashback and the offer is running until the 28th February 2021.
Sadly the cashback offer is only available for new members, or those with no previous purchases or cashback through TopCashback.
Pizza Hut Delivery are offering an exclusive one-day-only deal just for National Pizza Day - which includes 50% off all pizzas when you spend £25 or more.
Simply visit the Pizza Hut website ( www.pizzahut.co.uk ), input your postcode, click on deals. You should then find the 50% off pizza when you spend £25 or more offer.
Get ready to order until your heart&aposs content, and then checkout to secure your bargain.
Now this offer from Papa John’s isn’t strictly for National Pizza Day, but they have a new 2-4-1 SunYay offer.
When you buy one pizza, you get one free on all Papa John’s pizzas. Customers can treat their loved ones to two pizzas for the price of one. Fun for all the family, friends and your partner.
You can order online at papajohns.co.uk, or via Deliveroo and Uber Eats.
If that’s not cheesy enough for you, Papa John’s is looking to put romance back on the menu with its new &aposextra cheesy&apos delivery service. To celebrate the day of love with a cheesy pizza, Papa John’s is offering customers the chance to receive their very own virtual singing deliveries performed by a romantic Barbershop Quartet.
To be in with the chance of receiving an exclusive, extra cheesy delivery by Sunday 14th February, hopeless romantics simply need to send their name and home address to [email protected] by Wednesday 10th February.
To celebrate National Pizza Day on 9 February, PizzaExpress is revealing three new and exclusive pizzas, available at 20% off when ordered via delivery.
The Quattro Formaggi Piccante, the Mushroom & Truffle, and the Napoletana all have 20% off from 9th February until the 28th February. They will then remain on PizzaExpress’ menu.
Order these exclusive pizzas via the PizzaExpress website: pizzaexpress.com/delivery-and-collection.
Will you be celebrating today with a pizza? Let us know in the comments below.
Perspective: Taylor Swift is pop’s loudest diarist. Now she has a new soapbox
Last year, the pop superstar sued a Denver radio DJ after she said he’d groped her during a pre-concert meet-and-greet. (Swift won the court case.) Before that, she publicly criticized Apple, by some measures the world’s most powerful company, over royalty payments from its streaming music service. (Apple quickly adjusted its policy.)
And on her latest album, “Reputation,” she responded to accusations by her old frenemies Kanye West and Kim Kardashian with a bitter intensity that reshaped our understanding of America’s one-time sweetheart. (The album finished 2017 as the year’s biggest seller.)
But one topic she has been quiet about is politics — a reticence that caused no shortage of frustration in the 2016 presidential campaign, when her lack of vocal support for Hillary Clinton was viewed by many as a lost opportunity to motivate young progressive voters.
That silence ended Sunday evening with an Instagram post in which Swift endorsed two Democrats from Tennessee, Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper, running for congressional seats in next month’s midterm elections.
Not only that, but the singer also vividly laid out her opposition to Bredesen’s opponent, Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, whose voting record in the House — including her positions on pay equity, domestic violence and marriage equality — “appalls and terrifies me,” Swift wrote.
“I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country.”
Taylor Swift on Instagram
“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support” Blackburn, Swift said, before adding that the representative’s beliefs don’t align with the singer’s “Tennessee values.”
So what’s all this mean? No, not for politics, but for pop?
For starters, it adds yet another point of engagement to Swift’s enduring battle with West, an enthusiastic admirer of President Trump who’s floated conspiracy theories regarding Democratic schemes to oppress people of color. (In case you’ve forgotten, the two stars’ feud stretches back to the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech to say that Beyoncé deserved the award for female video.)
More interestingly, though, it suggests that Swift — whose success was founded on her ability to create the illusion of intimacy on a grand scale — is beginning to see herself in a slightly different way: as an artist, that is, whose canvas extends beyond the limits of her social and romantic life.
You can look at her previous pronouncements as essentially self-serving, though it’s important to note that she didn’t take legal action against the radio DJ until he’d sued her first (for what he said was Swift’s role in getting him fired).
But in this case, Swift seems freshly inspired by her concern for others — for those less insulated than she is from the threat she says Blackburn represents for various marginalized communities — and by a sense of responsibility to make that concern widely known.
“I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent,” she wrote on Instagram, which would have been unimaginable as recently as 2016 — when, let’s not forget, her winning album of the year over Kendrick Lamar at the Grammy Awards summoned thoughts of the institutional prejudice she describes.
This isn’t to discount Swift’s personal investment in these issues. In her note, she partly attributes her decision to speak out to “several events in my life,” and you have to assume that includes the dehumanizing experience with the DJ. (If the singer still agreed to be interviewed, which she hasn’t done in ages, perhaps we’d know for sure.)
But the timing of her comments, just a day after Brett Kavanaugh’s highly controversial confirmation to the Supreme Court, is surely no coincidence.
Is Swift merely offering up a performance of wokeness, parroting all the right words to correct for what she didn’t say in the run-up to Donald Trump’s shocking victory?
It’s possible, of course — and not because “her career has never recovered since Kanye ended it,” as conservative activist Charlie Kirk insisted cluelessly on Twitter.
Indeed, Billboard recently reported that Swift’s tour behind “Reputation” had raked in more money than any other U.S. tour by a female artist, including Swift’s earlier road shows.
But to suspect that the singer is cynically working to ingratiate herself with the liberal elite is to discount the likelihood that most of her fans live in red states like Tennessee. And although her music is a long way from Nashville these days, Swift still has roots in the country community, which has been relatively quiet on politics in the Trump era and which famously turned its back on the Dixie Chicks after the act was critical of President George W. Bush.
Which means she had much more to lose than to gain by coming out with a statement like this one.
To the extent that we should ever trust that an entertainer is speaking from the heart, Swift’s comments feel remarkably credible.
Texas, Janet Yellen, Taylor Swift: Your Friday Evening BriefingImage
1. Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Tex., as a Category 4 hurricane. Parts of the state could see catastrophic flooding from the storm surge and torrential rains, and winds up to 130 miles per hour.
Forecasters predicted that after making landfall, the storm would turn back up the coast toward Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city and home to the oil and gas industry. Here’s a map of the storm’s projected path. It will be the first big test for the White House and the new FEMA director, Brock Long.
We’ll be following the storm closely, with correspondents on the ground and here in New York. You can set your iPhone or Android device for breaking news alerts, or sign up here to get them by email.
2. In what amounted to a warning to the Trump administration, Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, above center, delivered a broad rebuttal to Republican criticism that financial regulation is impeding economic growth.
Her term ends in February, and Mr. Trump has said he is considering whether to replace her. Gary Cohn, Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser and a principal architect of his deregulation push, is a candidate.
But Mr. Cohn was reportedly so upset by the administration’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., that he considered resigning. He said the White House “can and must do better” in condemning hate groups.
And in this week’s Partisan Writing Roundup, figures from across the political spectrum take on the president’s increasingly contentious relationship with his party’s congressional leaders.