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Excuse Us, ‘Papa’ John Schnatter: We’re in the Middle of a Class War

Schnatter’s giving us a tour of his mansion on TikTok, monstrous mating eagle clock and all

John Schnatter, formerly of Papa John’s, wears a red zip-up and stands in front of blue and green graphics when ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ. Rob Kim/Getty Images
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

By now, you may be familiar with the saga of John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s pizza. It began in 1984, when he started selling pizzas out of his dad’s bar in Indiana. Now, Papa John’s is a publicly traded company, and for many years Papa John himself remained the face of the business, even as he trash-talked the Affordable Care Act and the NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem. Then, in 2018, audio on which he’s heard using the N-word was leaked to the public, and — to round things out — he was accused of sexual misconduct. He stepped down as chairman, but not at all quietly. Instead, he insisted the company was doomed without him, launched a website to rehabilitate his image, and also claimed to have eaten 40 pizzas in 30 days just to prove Papa John’s wasn’t as good anymore.

His latest tactic, however, beats them all. Schnatter, who recently joined TikTok, is under the impression that what people really want to see is his 40,000 sq. foot mansion. A man of the people!

The tour of his home is purposefully shot like an episode of MTV’s Cribs, if Cribs were only about the least charismatic people on earth. The home, which was valued around $11 million in 2019, features a golf course, multiple pools, and a private lake. We enter the main house through massive carved doors into a foyer of marble and, oh just a clock shaped like two eagles fucking that’s about 25 feet tall. Why? Because they have to have “perfect timing.” It’s a bad joke. Whatever, no big deal, what did you buy with your stimulus check?

Moving on to the library, where Schnatter says he films “...footage.” No, he will not tell you what kind of footage, leaving the mind to wander to horrible places filled with amorous eagles and garlic sauce. We do not get a look inside the library this time, but he says there is a part 2 coming. Instead, you can scroll back to find him joyriding a tricycle inside his subterranean 22-car garage, which includes a “motorized turntable to help move limousines.” Or him walking to his personal helicopter.

I’m gonna level with you, Father Jack, this is not a great look right now! It does not matter that proceeds from your horrible merch go to COVID-19 relief efforts through your Family Foundation. 30 million people have filed for unemployment! Thousands are dying because the government insists the wheels of capitalism keep turning! Baba, the rich are getting richer and everyone is furious about it! Then again, showing off all your shiny stuff like a cat proudly dropping a half-dead cockroach at your feet is exactly what rich people think is a great look right now, because they think this is “inspirational” or something. Padre Johnathan, the only thing this is inspiring is class resentment.

Then again, maybe he is just as desperate for attention and human contact as the rest of us. But if that’s the case maybe he could cry into one of his many pools.