LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville-based Papa John’s is among a handful of national advertisers to pull their TV spots from Tucker Carlson’s program on Fox News Channel after the conservative host said Monday that the “moment” of nationwide protests over police violence toward African-Americans is “definitely not about black lives.”
Papa John’s did not specifically mention Carlson in a statement issued Thursday. The company said it will no longer advertise on any “opinion-based” shows.
“Papa John’s media spend is designed to reach a wide range of potential, new and existing consumers across platforms. Placement of advertising is not intended to be an endorsement of any specific programming or commentary. We have decided to suspend all resources allocated against opinion-based programming,” the company said.
The pizza company historically hasn’t advertised on cable news but made general purchases across multiple channels when news viewership increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement pressured Papa John’s and other advertisers on social media this week to stop supporting Carlson.
Is this the kind of rhetoric you support and shows you choose to display your advertisements? https://t.co/QE7TsGepar— #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor #JusticeforJaylaandNiomi (@teasmee) June 9, 2020
T-Mobile, SmileDirectClub and Disney have also redirected ads from the show, according to the research group Media Matters for America. But SmileDirectClub said through a representative that its ad campaign ended in May and "there is no connection between the company's advertising, Tucker Carlson's show and current events."
Papa John’s is still recovering from its acrimonious 2018 split with founder John Schnatter, who apologized for using the N-word on a conference call that year but later said his remarks were not racist and taken out of context.
Papa John’s CEO Rob Lynch said in a letter to employees earlier this month that he and the company stand for “diversity, inclusion and equity.”
Our hearts go out to our black employees, communities, and friends. We stand with you against racism and injustice. We will continue to work to drive change.” – Rob Lynch, President and CEO. https://t.co/8YMtx0Z9Vh pic.twitter.com/Oe7WnC8A3j— Papa John's Pizza (@PapaJohns) June 3, 2020
“Personally, I’ve been through a range of emotions since hearing the news about (the death of) George Floyd and many other recent instances of injustice — anger, exasperation, frustration, sadness,” Lynch wrote. “My heart goes out to the families of the victims and to everyone who is hurting right now. I may not be able to feel exactly what so many are feeling, but I can be supportive. I can be the kind of person who stands up and speaks out against prejudice, discrimination, injustice, and hate. I can care. I do care.”