John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John's, may be an asshole. But he's not the asshole you think he is.
He may make shitty pizza, he may have supported Romney, and he may or may not
be generally opposed to Obamacare.
But he DID NOT SAY that he planned to lay anyone off, close any
restaurants, or cut anyone's hours, in response to the Affordable Care
Act. And as far as I can tell, he has not taken steps
to do any of those things, either.
whole circus - the memes, the boycott, the reverse-boycott, the
hashtags, the punditry, the Jon Stewart rant - is the result of some
borderline journalism on the part of
the Naples Daily News, and some outright inaccurate journalism on the
It’s not an example of a bad CEO - it’s an example of the
destructive power of bad reporting. Let me break it down.
original story from the Naples Daily News, by Jessica Lipscomb.The
said it was likely that some franchise owners would reduce employees' hours in
order to avoid having to cover them. "That's
probably what's going to happen," he said. "It's common sense. That's
what I call lose-lose."
that Schnatter is commenting on what his franchisees might do. He’s
not saying he has plans to do anything of the sort.
what is up with that quote? “It’s common sense.” Is he implying that it’s
common sense to expect the worst of the franchisees? Or that it’s common sense
on the part of the franchisees to cut workers’ hours? “That’s what I call
lose-lose” is even more tantalizing. Who are the losing parties? The workers
and their employers? Is he condoning or condemning the idea?
never know, because Lipscomb didn’t clarify it in her article. She just plunks
down this ambiguous quote and leaves it there. It's not terrible reporting, but it's a little bit crappy reporting.
the HuffPo that did the real damage.
story by Harry Bradford. Headline: Papa
John's CEO John Schnatter Says Company Will Reduce Workers' Hours In Response
The crucial bit:
John’s CEO John Schnatter said he plans on passing the costs of health care
reform to his business onto his workers. Schnatter said he will likely reduce workers’ hours, as a result of President Obama's
reelection, the Naples Daily News reports.<
The words “reduce workers’ hours”link to
the Naples Daily News report, which of course says nothing of the kind.
And did anyone care? No. Bradford’s version of the story was so delicious
pundit anywhere seems to have bothered to notice that it wasn’t true. Not even
which covers the coverage by saying that Schnatter “is vowing to reduce
employee hours and wages.”
The HuffPo story does have a correction appended to it, relating to a false statement about Applebee’s,
but no correction for completely misrepresenting what Schnatter said to the
Naples paper. Elsewhere, the 'Po allowed Schnatter to publish a lengthy
clarification of his remarks.Of course, this was seen as panicked backpeddling by an evil
CEO righfully skewered by his own words. Gleeful schadenfreude all around.
Look, I don’t know that Schnatter isn’t an evil CEO. He may
indeed have a heart as black as a burned crust. But he just flat out did not
say what he’s being eviscerated for saying.And, sadly, no one will ever give a shit.