Category Archives: Economics

Controversial Papa John’s CEO Considers Selling His Company Stake

Papa John's founder John Scnattner is weighing selling his remaining interest in the company.

Papa John’s founder John Scnattner is weighing selling his remaining interest in the company.

By Free Radical

According to a regulatory filing on Monday, Papa John’s controversial founder, John Schnatter, is considering selling his remaining interest in the pizza company.

Schnatter stepped down from his position as company CEO in 2017 amid comments that criticized ongoing protests by NFL players. Last month, he also resigned from the company’s board. However, Schnatter still owns a 31 percent stake in the company.

Schnatter has embroiled Papa John’s in controversy for years. He has a a history of ultra conservative politics and accused Obamacare of spiking costs for business owners. He also donated to  Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. His 2017 comments, which criticized the NFL national anthem protests, resulted in low sales for the company and Papa John’s to break its sponsorship ties with the football league.

Yet it was his use of the n-word to refer to Black people in May 2018 which motivated his ouster from the Papa John’s board.

Papa John’s has recently removed Schnatter from all advertising and has spent $51 million to re-brand itself with a new image celebrating diversity. Shaquille O’Neal has been appointed the company’s main spokesman and there have even been rumors that a new pizza will be named for him in the near future.

Ancestry.com Pulls Ahistorical Ad

Ancestry.com apologized for a commercial that romanticized the sexual exploitation of Black women.

Ancestry.com apologized for a commercial that romanticized the sexual exploitation of Black women.

By Free Radical

A commercial for Ancestry.com depicting slavery has been pulled after receiving large waves of controversy. The much criticized ad shows a romanticized depiction of interracial relationships in the Antebellum South.

A White man is seen holding out a ring to a Black woman before saying, “Abigail, we can escape to the North.” Just as Abigail, begins to speak, he interrupts her to say, “There is a place we be together, across the border. Will you leave with me?” Next the screen fades to black and text appears to say, “Without you, the story stops here.” A narrator subsequently delivers an additional pitch by saying, “Uncover the lost chapters of your family history with Ancestry.”

Critics quickly lambasted the commercial for depicting sexual relations between African women and White men as consensual when in fact the vast majority were not. Black people who use the genealogy service will likely look back to the histories of White men in their lineage who were rapists. The commercial does not portray this reality.

The ad also fails to show the agency of African women. The woman in the ad is literally interrupted by her White costar and the audience has no idea of her thoughts regarding escape. The White man, however, is seen as he hero who hatched the plan to move North. The history, however, tells us that the reverse is more likely to be true. Black women masterminded all forms of resistance such as running away, creating maroon communities, and even violence. White men, on the other hand, were invariably most likely committed to stymieing these plans and even issuing brutal justice when they were found out.

Ancestry.com originally tested the video in Utah where its headquarters is located. The company was also set to release the commercial in Canada yet posted it on its YouTube channel when it was discovered by critics.

In a statement, a company spokesperson expressed, “We very much appreciate the feedback we have received and apologize for any offense that the ad may have caused. We are in the process of pulling the ad from television and have removed it from YouTube.”

Ancestry.com is just the latest in a slate of companies that have created racially offensive ads. The lotion company Nivea pulled ads which touted a product’s ability to lighten the skin of Black women and luxury brand Gucci received backlash for using Blackface in its product line.

Charlottesville High School Students Demand Reform After Racist Threat

Zyahna Bryant, leader of the Charlottesville High School Black Student Union

Zyahna Bryant, leader of the Charlottesville High School Black Student Union, led protests for sweeping reforms after students of color were targeted by racist threats.

By Malcolm Speaks

Students at Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, walked out of classes, issuing a list of demands to the school district days after they were targeted by a racist threat.

Public schools were closed citywide this past Thursday and Friday after a user on the message board 4chan threatened to commit “ethic cleansing” at Charlottesville High, using racial slurs and warning students to stay home, according to the Huffington Post.

Police tracked the post to a 17-year-old male in Albemarle County on Friday, and charged him with felony threats, as well as misdemeanor harassment. They didn’t identify him because he is a minor. Also, the same day, another teen was arrested for an unrelated threat, also made on social media, against nearby Albemarle High School.

The walkout was organized by local activist and student Zyahna Bryant and the high school’s Black Student Union. The intent of the walkout was to obtain cultural reform and increased safety in the school. This is of even more significance given that the Unite the Right rally, which resulted in the death of one person and the injury of many others at the hands of white supremacists, took place in this very city in 2017.

By one estimate, another 200 people joined the Black Student Union and marched through McIntire Park in protest.

“There can be no reconciliation without redistribution of resources for Black and Brown students,” Bryant told the Huffington Post Monday afternoon.

Students called for the school district to focus more resources on African-American history courses, hire more Black teachers, give its resource officers racial bias training, and install a lock and buzzer system at high schools for safety, among other demands.

“In the wake of the recent school closings due to threats of racial violence that targeted Black and Brown students, the students of Charlottesville High School are calling on the Charlottesville City Schools to address racism in all its forms,” the Black Student Union said in a press release.

Early Pesticide Exposure Linked to Autism

Exposure to pesticides during pregnancy and early childhood has been linked to autism.

Exposure to pesticides during pregnancy and early childhood has been linked to autism in a recent study.

By MCNS Staff

A child’s exposure to environmental pesticides prior to birth as well as during their first year of life has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism, according to the largest epidemiological study to date which was just published this past Wednesday.

Ondine von Ehrenstein, a professor of public health at the University of Califorinia, Los Angeles led the study which showed that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) from a highly sprayed agricultural area were 10 to 16 times more likely to have children with autism. They were also 30 percent more likely to have children with severe autism. If these children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, they were 50 percent more likely to develop autism.

The study looked at nearly 3,000 children and was published in the health journal BMJ. For more on this research, click here.