What Happens When Your Product Is Endorsed by Nazis?

It’s not a good look when your product is endorsed like this.

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 17 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

Once again, Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter is in the news. The last time it was over his parsimonious Obamacare comments and healthcare for his employees; this time he blamed his declining sales on Black NFL player protests — which led Nazi website the Daily Stormer to declare his pizza the official pizza of Nazis.

What should your CEO do to avoid that endorsement?

1. First, remind them that it doesn’t really matter how they feel; the larger question is how your politics are serving your shareholders. If Trump is your CEO’s man, focus them on this: The demographic trends of this country show clearly that Trump is an anomaly. And find another job.

2. If, as a privileged white person, you feel compelled to offer an opinion about NFL protests, get your head out of Fox and read Professor Paul Butler’s book “Chokehold” or Professor Carol Anderson’s book “White Rage” before you clear up any ambiguity about your intelligence.

3. Avoid taking grand public stances on diversity when you don’t have the accomplishments to back up the publicity grab. Google your company name and senior leadership. Mostly/all white? Only men in P&L positions? Be quiet or you’re going to sound like the red-faced guy at every football stadium yelling “advice” to the coach. Papa John stock is underperforming the DJIA by more than 50 percentage points over the past 12 months. See point 1 above.

4. If, despite all your best intentions, you get into a jam like this, it would be a really good idea to have built up a reservoir of good will that shows up on web searches. Not like this (one of our more popular stories ever).

Schnatter has since tried to disavow the Daily Stormer’s endorsement. Are you buying it? Neither am I.

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  • Not for one nano-second do I believe him. He’s 100% comfortable with his beliefs and so he will never see a penny of my money. I’ll learn how to make pizza from scratch before I buy from him.

  • John is a greedy pig. Contrary to his popular thought – most people don’t like his 🍕. I can’t wait until he goes out of business. Every non-white worker needs to bite the bullet and on January 1, 2018 QUIT! Let’s see how many White Nationalist Nazi’s will fill those low paying slots, and non-whites can find low paying jobs elsewhere there have got to be thousands of them. Oh, PWT don’t figure into the Nazi way of life – you’re the ones they really don’t like because your blood isn’t pure. So PJ owner – who cares, bout time you pay back in some way.

  • He should have casted his votes quietly and kept his trap shut and just made pizzas. Want to go into politics? Then go into politics. Have never bought any if his pizzas and never will. Never appealed to me.

  • I make it a point not to patronize a business that doesn’t take care of their employees, and or embrace diversity. In this case, its clear PJ fails at both!

  • After this A-hole disagreed and fought against raising the minimum wage in 2015 to a living wage, the things he said screamed racist. I try to get across to people that they can buy crappy pizza anywhere, but buy his crappy pizza and as a bonus get a racist with it. If people of color could ban together and boycott Crappy-John’s Pizza, once he went out of business it would send a much needed message to business owners…keep thoughts racist to self. Note: People of color have money too!!!!!!!!!!!

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