PR firm Sitrick and Company has asked bloggers to correct or remove posts about Papa John's CEO John Schnatter's widely criticized remarks that pizza prices would rise because of the Affordable Care Act.
The agency began working with Papa John's last November, after Schnatter said during an investor call that Obamacare would cost the company 11 to 14 cents per pizza.
“Our business model and unit economics are about as ideal as you can get for a food company to absorb Obamacare, ergo, we have a high ticket average with extremely high frequency of order counts, millions of pizzas per year,” Schnatter said.
CNN and other media outlets subsequently reported that Schnatter's estimate of the rise in pizza costs was false, and comedians such as Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart mocked his comments.
Following a November op-ed in the Huffington Post in which Schnatter disputed these reports, Sitrick began reaching out to bloggers such as Will Stabley, claiming that Schnatter's quotes had been “mischaracterized.”
“Where we have seen these mischaracterization we have asked for a correction or that the story be taken down. Fortunately, in virtually all of these cases, we have been dealing with responsible journalists who have done just that,” Sitrick said in an email to Stabley. “We would request, Mr. Stabley, given that the information is demonstrably false about what Mr. Schnatter that you do the same, preferably removing the post.”
Stabley wrote last week that while Papa John's has not gone to the extreme of making legal claims against journalists, the effort on behalf of Sitrick to remove negative coverage “speaks for itself.”