- Kim Bhasin / Business Insider
- Progressives are threatening to boycott Papa John’s after its CEO slammed the NFL. One frequently mentioned replacement is Little Caesars. Little Caesars’ founder has been applauded for quietly paying the civil-rights icon Rosa Parks’ rent.
Liberals are latching onto another pizza chain amid threats to boycott Papa John’s over its CEO and founder’s recent comments.
On Wednesday, John Schnatter said the controversy over NFL players’ kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality was hurting pizza sales.
Despite finding support on the right, Schnatter was widely roasted on social media.
“I guess trying to find a non-racist pizza is our new world, everyone,” the model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen tweeted on Thursday.
- Hollis Johnson
In Teigen’s replies, one chain shows up again and again: Little Caesars.
And one claim that shows up several times is that the founder of Little Caesars, Mike Ilitch, quietly paid the civil-rights icon’s Rosa Parks’ rent.
Unlike other pizza brands, Little Caesars has not publicly responded to Schnatter’s statements, though it’s reaping benefits of the boycott threats.
Dozens of people on social media have praised Ilitch as an example of what a pizza-chain founder should be. There is even a meme circulating comparing Schnatter with Ilitch.
While the fact-checking website Snopes reports that the meme stretches the truth and cherry-picks evidence to portray Schnatter in a negative light while elevating Ilitch, the Little Caesars founder did in fact support Parks.
Judge Damon Keith told Sports Business Daily in 2014 that Ilitch had paid rent on a new Detroit apartment for Parks for years, after she was robbed and assaulted in a different apartment in 1994. The news story was recirculated widely after Ilitch’s death in February.
“It’s important that people know what Mr. Mike Ilitch did for Ms. Rosa Parks because it’s symbolic of what he has always done for the people of our city,” Keith said.