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edge staff writer


Celebrity Slam - Papa don't preach

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We’re all for redemption tours here at Celebrity Slam. Yes, we greatly enjoy scorning and mocking famous people for their mistakes, but we also acknowledge that it is possible to atone for said mistakes. A show of genuine contrition and clear efforts at growth and evolution can go a long way toward rehabilitating someone’s image.

However, it is ALSO possible for these efforts at redemption to go off the rails in their own ridiculous ways. Sometimes, a famous person either proves unable to properly communicate their regrets or is ultimately unable to understand what the actual problem was in the first place.

This brings us to Papa John. Yes, the pizza guy.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the Papa John – real name John Schnatter, but you KNOW we’re just gonna keep calling him Papa John – situation knows that things have been a bit rough over the past couple of years.

You might recall that a while back, Papa John got the boot from his position as CEO of the pizza chain; the board of directors ousted him after he dropped the n-word during a conference call. He’s apparently making the media rounds, trying to come back from the ouster and generally claiming that what happened was a de facto coup and that it was unfair to paint him as racist.

But in a recent interview, he said some things that sure make it seem like they may have been right all along.

Specifically, Papa John told an interviewer that he has spent the last 20 months with three goals in mind:

  1.     “Get rid of this n-word in my vocabulary and dictionary and everything else because it’s just not true.”
  2.     Figuring out how they did this.
  3.     Get on with his life.

Now, we’re not going to worry about numbers two and three, because they will almost certainly be worked through in the process of discussing number one, because hooboy is there a lot to unpack there.

It certainly SEEMS as though Papa John is saying that his use of this particular racial slur is so ingrained, so constant in his life, that it has taken him over a year-and-a-half to get it out of his standard vernacular. Like, there’s no real way to read that quote that doesn’t sound like he’s essentially admitting that he says it all the time and that it’s really hard to not say it.

(Note: It is DEFINITELY not hard to not say it.)

From there, number two seems pretty self-explanatory. How did they do it? Probably by being appropriately horrified by someone dropping n-bombs in the middle of a corporate conference call. Say racist things, get treated like a racist – that’s how it works.

As for three? Well, as we’ve seen, getting on with his life is not something that Papa John has any real interest in doing, because if he did, he probably wouldn’t be going on television to talk about how difficult it has been for him to stop using wildly offensive words in his everyday conversations.

It’s rather unlikely that Papa John went on the air with the intention of giving everyone a timeline for his gradual elimination of hateful epithets from his standard discourse. One assumes that he misspoke and was trying to reference the scandal rather than the word itself. But here’s the thing – there’s what he might have meant to say … and then there’s what he actually said.

And what he said was that he’s taken nearly two years to quit the n-word.

Now, anyone can make a mistake. And there should be room for someone to atone for that mistake. But there has to be regret, some indication of contrition. There has to be a desire to make amends. What we have here is a dude who still doesn’t really believe that he’s done anything wrong and that if people would just listen to him, he could explain why his use of that word is harmless and certainly doesn’t make him a racist.

Only it definitely does.

Better ingredients. Better pizza. Better racism. Papa John’s.

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 March 2021 07:16


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