Deposed pizza king “Papa” John Schnatter has taken back a widely parroted claim he made last year while criticizing his former company, Papa John’s — that he ate 40 pizzas in 30 days and noticed a severe drop-off in quality.
In fact, the ousted CEO now says, he sampled slices from 40 pizzas over a 30 day period — he did not finish every pie.
“I’ve had over 40 pizzas in the last 30 days, and it’s not the same pizza,” Schnatter originally said in November during an interview with his hometown TV station in Kentucky. “It’s not the same product. It just doesn’t taste as good.”
Schnatter’s remarks were quickly interpreted as an all-too-believable boast that the former pizza patriarch had forced himself to eat 40 entire pizzas in 30 days — bolstered in part by his later promise to “beat my record of 40 pizzas in 30 days” in 2020.
The visibly perspiring Schnatter promised at the time that a “day of reckoning” was coming for the Papa John’s board members he blames for his removal — which, to be fair, sounds like the kind of claim a person who eats 40 pizzas in 30 days would make. Shortly after the November interview, Schnatter filed a lawsuit against the creative agency that he blames for his fall from grace after audio was leaked of him using racist language on a conference call. (The call itself was set up in response to Schnatter’s previous remarks in which he blamed NFL player protests against police brutality for Papa John’s lagging pizza sales.) After the incident was publicized, Schnatter left the company, though he remains a major shareholder.
Now, Schnatter says, he eats just eight or nine slices of Papa John’s a week, a totally normal amount of Papa John’s pizza. When will the media finally learn to stop taking Schnatter out of context?