Racial slur on Papa John’s Pizza receipt goes viral

By Muriel Kane
Sunday, January 8, 2012 18:56 EDT
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When an Asian-American customer of Papa John’s Pizza in New York City decided to vent by posting a receipt that identified her as “lady chinky eyes” on Twitter, she may have thought she was just letting off steam.

But in the last day, the receipt has been viewed over 200,000 times, Papa John’s has apologized publicly both via Twitter and on its Facebook page, and the cashier responsible for the slur — identified by Gothamist as a sixteen year old high school girl — has been fired.

Minhee Cho, a communications manager with ProPublica, tweeted, “Hey @PapaJohns just FYI my name isn’t ‘lady chinky eyes’” at about noon on Saturday, and presumably thought nothing more of the matter.

ProPublica spokesman Mike Webb, however, told CNN, “This blew up far beyond Minhee’s expectations. She has reporters coming to her apartment, and that’s annoying. So she wants it to blow over and she has nothing more to say.”

Papa John’s apology, which currently has 904 likes and 670 comments, reads, “We were extremely concerned to learn of the receipt issue in New York. This act goes against our company values, and we’ve confirmed with the franchisee that this matter was addressed immediately and that the employee is being terminated. We are truly sorry for this customer’s experience.”

Some employees of the pizza restaurant, however, believe that a lot of fuss is being made about nothing. “We’re all of different races here in this store,” an assistant manager explained to Gothamist. “So she didn’t mean any harm, didn’t mean to stereotype against her, to discriminate against her, but that’s how she took it.”

Cho herself told the Daily News, “I was very surprised because the lady that was serving me was super nice and we joked and it seemed super normal.”

But perhaps the last word came from one of Cho’s Twitter followers, who wrote, “Whoever did this needs to get fired. But the real issues is you are in NYC getting Papa Johns, why?!?”

Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
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