Two Papa John’s delivery employees in Sanford, Fla., were fired after footage of a racist voicemail left by the driver went viral on the Internet.
The seven-minute viral video starts with the customer establishing that he tipped the driver 21 percent. He then reviews the phone log that shows the Papa John’s employee's phone number and proceeds to air the four-minute voicemail.
“That’s the only requirement for being a ni--er in Sanford,” the driver tells a co-worker, while complaining about the tip. “Yeah, they gave me five bucks there. Fine, outstanding African-American gentleman of the community.”
The driver then sings versions of both the overture from the opera "The Wedding of Figaro" and the theme song to the television show "SWAT" laced with the slur, before calling the customer “so black, fireflies follow him around in the daytime.”
According to the initial report by the Daily Dot, the manager of the store confirmed the customer’s video is authentic, adding that the store had received more than 300 angry calls in response.
“This is highly offensive, derogatory and ignorant,” the customer wrote in the video's accompanying caption box on YouTube. "As an African-American in this community and also someone who has always tipped their Delivery Drivers 21%+, I am disgusted entirely by this conversation. Instead of focusing on ‘better ingredients’ and ‘better pizza’, they should prioritize ‘better integrity’ and ‘better people’ on the top of their 'to-do list'.”
Papa John's founder and current CEO, John Schnatter, posted an apology on Papa John's Facebook page on Monday afternoon.
"Friends, I am extremely concerned to learn about the reprehensible language used by two former employees in one of our restaurants," the Facebook post stated. "Their thinking and actions defy both my personal and the company's values, and everything for which this company stands." Schnatter said the employees "responsible for this absolutely unacceptable behavior were immediately terminated."
This is not the first time a Papa John's employee was fired over a racist message. In January 2012, a Papa John’s employee was terminated after a customer tweeted a photo of a receipt she'd received with a racial slur typed on it. ProPublica communications manager Minhee Cho placed an order at a New York City Papa John’s and received a receipt on which her name was listed as “lady chinky eyes.” The photo of the receipt went viral shortly after Cho shared it on Twitter.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.