Papa John’s employee who called her “lady chinky eyes” is fired, though some co-workers remain sympathetic
Someone should have told the employees at Papa John's to hold the slurs on Minhee Cho's order Friday night.
The pizza chain has found itself embroiled in quite the unsavory scandal, after Cho, the communications manager of New York-based, non-profit news organization ProPublica, tweeted a photo of her Papa John's receipt bearing an offensive description of her.
"Hey @PapaJohns just FYI my name isn't 'lady chinky eyes,'" Cho wrote on Saturday, along with a picture of the receipt in question, issued from a Papa John's store on Broadway.
Cho's tweet resulted in quite a bit of fallout, with the pizza chain firing the employee responsible for the receipt and apologizing profusely via its Twitter and Facebook accounts.
"We were extremely concerned to learn of the receipt issue in New York," a statement on the company's Facebook page reads. "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."
Papa John's Twitter account adds that the company has reached out to Cho (pictured), who is Korean-American, in an effort to further resolve the issue.
Even so, the company is likely to experience some more heartburn over the issue, especially given the nonchalant response of some employees at the offending Papa John's branch. Speaking to the Gothamist, an assistant manager at the location defended the fired teenage employee, arguing, "We're all of different races here in this store. 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."
Ronald Johnson, an operating partner who runs five Papa John's locations, including the one where the incident took place, was likewise sympathetic to the ousted employee.
"I bet I'll talk to her and she won't know why this is offensive," Johnson told Gothamist. "She needs to know, and she will know. If I fire her, two years from now, she won't even remember why she got fired. If I sit her down and talk to her, I can help her."
Meanwhile, a manager who identified himself only as Jerome went so far as to blame Cho for the negative publicity the restaurant has received in wake of the incident.
“It’s affecting how we work,” Jerome groused to the New York Post. “This is a place of business. I truly don’t think it’s fair what she did; it’s just crazy … I think the lady put it out there just to get some attention — some people like that type of attention. I truly don’t think it’s fair. It’s been taking up all our time. It’s been very disruptive.”
Perhaps Jerome need not worry so much; according to Cho, the restaurant won't be quite so hectic with business in the future.
“I probably would not go there again, because they would probably spit in my food,” Cho tells the Post.