Papa John Pivots To Media Criticism

A dispatch from CPAC

PARK CITY, UT - DECEMBER 04:  John Schnatter aka 'Papa John' attends day three of the 2016 Deer Vall...
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The Conservative Political Action Conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando began today with their best and brightest guests, including John Schnatter, the founder and former CEO of the pizza chain that shares his nickname — Papa John.

Papa, as he is referred to, resigned from the company’s board of directors four years ago after saying the N-word on a conference call. Evidently, he has pivoted to media criticism; he was on a panel titled “All the News the Left Permits.”

The panel was hosted by One America News Network's Natalie Harp, and featured Papa, Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts, and Erik Finman — the Bitcoin millionaire best known for launching the “Freedom Phone,” a smart device that purported to side step American’s “Big Tech overlords” for the free-speech pioneers who had been kicked off mainstream platforms. (Finman did get a lot of pre-orders, but had trouble following through on most of them, after it became clear that the $500 device he was peddling was identical to a $120 knockoff from AliExpress, with some pre-downloaded right-wing applications, like Harp’s own OANN. He is now a media critic as well.)

Harp warmed up the crowd with some jokes (“Hey, you guys are looking canceled to me! Everyone wanna sit down? We’ve got a lot to talk about. Some big topics today, right? We should probably start with the elephant in the room — actually, no, he’s more of a donkey, don’t you think? Biden!”). But soon she got down to business: Papa was the first papa to get canceled, she explained, before “it became a thing everyone wants to happen to them.”

Papa was wearing a black chef’s jacket that said “Papa John.” Harp asked him about how the media treated him after he said the N-word on a conference call four years ago. He had some trouble with his microphone, but it was possible to make out the following:

Well, we were down to duel with the country, but the country wouldn’t duel. It was — it came out of nowhere. We look back and we had the notoriety. We had the endurance. The company was doing $4 billion. And Papa John’s was the American dream. We were the perfect first party. And they went there. We had no model. We had to figure out what to do about this. Fighting, fighting back, etc. And we didn’t have a model. We didn’t have a program. We had a board of directors that was really weak. And actually, I was behind enemy lines and I didn’t know it. So you have hardships and you have people around you who let this happen, and before you know it you’re out on your ass.

True. But the media never sleeps, and there was more to criticize. Papa spoke out about small businesses and Reaganomics; cancelation and the “darkness and evilness of the folks pulling the strings;” the importance of “sticking to the truth” and the COVID vaccine (“They manipulate data, they hide data, they give false data, or they make up data”); and Joe Rogan, who came up when Harp asked whether the “racist label [didn’t] mean as much” anymore.

“You look at the Joe Rogan situation,” Papa answered. “He’s gonna make it. He is gonna make it. Three years ago, he wouldn’t have made it. But the impact of Trump, Trump Jr., and Portnoy, Joe Rogan, and me — none of us are safe if we disagree with their ideology. None of us are. Because they’re angry. It’s relentless. They’re full of hate. They’re full of enmity. It’s the opposite of love and kindness and joy and happiness, when you’re seeing things from a rational perspective.”

It’s important to see things from a rational perspective. Rationally speaking, it seems like they didn’t tell us what news the Left permits or doesn’t permit. But I’m no Papa John.