Papa Johnâ€™s Pizza (NASDAQ:PZZA) disavowed white supremacist groups on Monday after a prominent neo-Nazi website endorsed the brand for its criticism of the NFLâ€™s handling of player protests.
The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist website that helped organize the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this year, published a post that asked if Papa Johnâ€™s was â€œthe official pizza of the alt-right.â€ The post went live days after Papa Johnâ€™s CEO John Schnatter criticized the NFL for â€œpoor leadershipâ€ and said ongoing player protests were having a negative impact on its pizza sales.
â€œThis might be the first time ever in modern history that a major institution is going to be completely destroyed explicitly because of public outrage over their anti-white agenda,â€ the Daily Stormer said. The blog post included a photo of a pizza with pepperoni slices arranged in a swastika pattern.
Papa Johnâ€™s rejected the siteâ€™s endorsement in a statement, adding that it did not want business from white supremacist customers.
â€œWe condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it. We do not want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza,â€ Papa Johnâ€™s said. Newsweek was first to report the pizza chainâ€™s response.
Papa Johnâ€™s shares fell last week after the Kentucky-based company reported worse-than-expected sales at its North American store locations. Schnatter blamed the slump in part on Papa Johnâ€™s longstanding partnership with the NFL. The company has been the official pizza of the NFL since 2010 and has individual deals with 23 of the leagueâ€™s 32 teams.
â€œThe NFL has hurt us,â€ Schnatter said during an earnings call. â€œMore importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the playersâ€™ and ownersâ€™ satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt Papa Johnâ€™s shareholders.â€
Papa Johnâ€™s did not provide specific sales data to show a correlation between the NFL protests and its sales. Pizza Hut, one of the brandâ€™s top rivals, said it is not seeing any impact from the protests on its business.