The latest to join the “Papa John’s” social media campaign is Papa John’s Pizza CEO John Schnatter, whose wife is a high-profile political activist and Republican lobbyist.
The pizzeria, based in Littleton, Colo., has been in the news recently because of Schnatter’s ties to the Republican National Committeeman, Ken Cuccinelli. In the past, Papa John’s has come under fire after announcing a promotion in which customers could get free pizza with each purchase of $15. The promotion, first reported by BuzzFeed, encouraged customers to vote for the Republican candidate in 2012 at participating Papa John’s sites, and the company also offered a free “Pizzagate” pizza box to each purchaser who donated $25 or more.
Now, this week, Papa John’s has joined the hashtag #PizzaGate, a hashtag aimed at discrediting and questioning the authenticity of PizzaGate, which took hold last year after a fake PizzaGate Twitter account tweeted a photo of a “Pizzagate” pizza pie in Comet Ping Pong, a popular Washington, D.C., pizza establishment.
In fact, after this viral photo went viral, Papa John’s was pressured to stop using the hashtag because it was confusing. However, the pizza company’s Twitter account on Sunday announced that it had joined the #PizzaGate hashtag.
“Today we learned of the investigation into the fraudulent social media activity that was perpetrated by a few individuals under the moniker ‘PizzaGate.'” the post reads in part. “This incident appears to have been committed by a rogue employee and his/her actions do not reflect the values of Pizza Hut. We are actively engaging with law enforcement and the industry as a whole to find out more information about the conduct involved.”
Papa John’s and Pizza Gateway have taken a more measured approach, but not before some pointed out that the “PizzaGate” hashtag has been the subject of more than 80,000 tweets.
UPDATE: The pizzeria tweeted today saying it is not aware of any connection between the hashtag #PizzaGate and its campaign.
The Obama administration’s decision to close its Guantanamo prison for terror suspects is one of the more troubling efforts that the president has announced since winning the presidential race. (I’m not referring to Obama’s decision to close the prison for Afghan war prisoners.) The closure also means that as of Sunday, prisoners who are still being held in the US prison will no longer be automatically released under presidential pardon.
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