John Schnatter, a.k.a. “Papa John”, is insistent that he was absolutely not eating pizza with a fork during a recent meal in Park City, Utah. The 53-year-old says that the whole thing got blown out of proportion due to less than stellar quality photographs, which did not properly detail exactly what he was actually eating (he says it was tuna.)
The CEO and some companions were dining at the upscale St. Regis Hotel, while attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Based on the picture that hit the internet shortly after this meal took place, it appears as though Schnatter is not only eating rival pizza, but he is also consuming it with a fork. The internet somewhat imploded following this photograph being leaked, and there were almost instantly several Twitter memes and new hashtags created to describe what one user satirically labelled as “pizzagate”. The terms “Benedict Arnold” and “pizza traitor” were also thrown around quite a bit, but the thing that users were really on PJ’s case for was the aforementioned fork usage that appeared to be going down while consuming food that is usually eaten with one’s hands. Even the US Twitter account of the UK’s The Daily Mail took a shot at the business owner, calling him out on not only eating competitor pizza but not even eating it properly.
Orange Is The New Black star Lea DeLaria also gave her two cents on the matter, while being interviewed by a TMZ photographer following Sunday’s SAG awards. The cameraman asked the actress if she had even eaten pizza with utensils, a question she was initially extremely puzzled by. When informed that Schnatter had seemingly done just that, however, she was quick to give her opinion as to whether or not the man was truly Italian if he was going to do such a thing. The 56-year-old was most certainly not impressed; she essentially labelled Schnatter as a “fugazzi”, a slang term for someone who is fake or not the real deal as per what they are claiming to be. DeLaria went on to say that no self-respecting Italian would even consume pizza in that manner, and that (in her opinion) Schnatter actually looks Irish rather than Italian anyway. The paparazzo joked that he would instigate a background check on the matter, a suggestion which the actress said would be a good idea.
Not everyone is attacking Schnatter for allegedly using a fork, however. There have been several instances of internet users calling out those who have mocked the use of cutlery while eating a pizza, saying that in Italy that is the respectable way to eat it. Indeed, one user put the haters on blast by saying they were most ignorant as to Italian culture, and that eating with one’s hands is considered incredibly rude and uncouth.
It will most likely remain unknown whether or not John Schnatter of “Papa John” infamy indeed used a fork to eat pizza this past weekend. His people did, however, admit that the CEO consumed a slice of rival pizza as an appetizer before the main course.
By Rebecca Grace