A Papa John’s location in Sanford, Fla., fielded about 300 calls Sunday night, not from people looking to order pizzas, but from angry watchers of a video (which has now been removed from YouTube
) in which a customer plays a racial-slur-laden voicemail from the delivery driver who just dropped off his pizza.
The video landed, and is still available
on, the website WorldStarHipHop.com (be warned: a particularly offensive racial slur is used repeatedly), where it has been viewed more than 420,000 times and has going on 5,900 comments.
The voicemail appears to be the result of the driver accidentally dialing the phone number of the customer, who is black. In it, the driver calls the customer a bad tipper and sings a slur-laden song to the tune of the overture from The Marriage of Figaro
The Daily Dot reports
that the store’s manager confirmed that the video and the voicemail were real and that the driver has been fired. He apologized for it.
“We were made aware of the video, and it’s under investigation,” the manager said. “We’re sorry that it happened.”
On Monday, Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter posted a message to Facebook
stating that he was “extremely concerned to learn about the reprehensible language used by two former employees in one of our restaurants.”
“My heartfelt apology goes out to the customer involved, his family, and our community at large,” he continued. “I am very sorry that anyone would be exposed to these hurtful and painful words by any person involved in any way with our company.”
Schnatter has been fighting some PR battles of his own in the past year or so. He hired a crisis PR firm
in January to polish his image following some statements about Obamacare, and how it might lead to increased pizza prices, made news.
The video of the driver’s message was removed from YouTube “as a violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully, or threaten.” It does prominently include the driver’s phone number.
This wouldn’t be the first time a Papa John’s employee has landed in hot water for being racially insensitive to a customer. About a year and a half ago, a cashier was fired for calling a customer “lady chinky eyes” in a description on a receipt
Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.
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