Papa John's Receipt Fiasco: When a Company's Racist Act Goes Viral

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on January 17, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

New Yorker Minhee Cho stopped by a Papa John's pizza chain for dinner last week. Cho ended up slapped with a racial slur -- on her Papa John's receipt.

The store employee typed out that her name was "lady chinky eyes."

Cho, a communications manager for an investigative journalism non-profit, tweeted a picture of the offending receipt. The photo went viral. The company is now facing a flurry of criticism and negative publicity.

The company apologized on Twitter. It also said that the employee who wrote out the comments is being terminated. The store owner told the New York Daily News that he was surprised the incident occurred. He plans on holding sensitivity trainings.

Some predict that Cho may file a lawsuit against the company. A spokesman for the non-profit she works at denied these rumors. "She wants it to blow over and she has nothing more to say," Mike Webb said to CNN.

The thorny situation does illustrate a problematic issue that general counsels may have to grapple with at some point. Safeguarding a company from lawsuits is something attorneys are tasked with.

Yet, a national company like Papa John's has thousands of employees working at hundreds of franchises. It's difficult to ensure that every single person will be completely law-abiding. And that they won't do anything that is considered discriminatory, harassing, or illegal.

Attorneys may need to help develop and implement company-wide trainings to educate employees.

They may also need to simply hope that an incident won't go viral like the Papa John's receipt fiasco. However, in this social media age, that may be unlikely. Even your grandparents are probably on Facebook.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard