The billionaire founder of Papa John’s pizza empire has been slammed for saying he ‘lost a home’ in Florida during Hurricane Ian, a monster storm which killed over a hundred.
John Schnatter, a property mogul who’s net worth is estimated to be at a billion dollars, admitted the loss he had suffered while speaking from another of his properties in Utah during an interview with OAN.
His $6million condominium in Naples, Florida, was flooded and damaged during the hurricane but Schnatter did empathize with those who had ‘lost everything’.
The pizza and property tycoon has courted controversy before after he was forced to step down as the chairman of his own company for using the n-word during a call in 2018.
‘Of course, you’re currently in Utah, but we’re seeing the images of your home in Naples,’ anchor Stella Inger Escobedo said to Schnatter, describing the scene as ‘heartbreaking.’
‘It appears it is completely under water.’
The images of the destruction in the aftermath of the hurricane ‘gives you a little bit of perspective [as to] how devastating this storm is,’ the pizza mogul says.
John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s and a property mogul who’s net worth is estimated to be between half a billion and a billion dollars, admitted that he had ‘lost a home’ in Florida during Hurricane Ian
OAN news anchor Stella Inger Escobedo asked Schnatter about the damage to his $6million condominium and he said his ‘heart goes out’ to those who have lost everything
‘I’m not worried about myself because I have the resources and the team and institutional knowledge, but you can’t imagine how bad this is.’
‘My heart goes out to the folks in Florida – yeah I lost a home, but they’ve lost everything.’
As well as the $6million condominium in Naples battered by Hurricane Ian, Schnatter is thought to own over 20 other properties.
His admission that he had lost ‘a’ home drew mockery from social media users, who also tore into OAN, a famously right-wing news network.
‘Waaaaaa he lost a house So in the end he will buy up the neighbors houses and build another tacky mansion,’ wrote one unsympathetic user.
‘I’m not worried because I have 600 million and can afford proper insurance. OAN is ridiculous,’ disclaimed another.
‘Institutional knowledge? To not suffer from a hurricane?’ wrote a third skeptical user.
John Schnatter accompanied by footage of his flooded home – the word ‘hurricane’ was spelt incorrectly on OAN’s strapline throughout the interview
The death toll for the storm, which struck Florida and South Carolina last week, was 109 as of yesterday, but is expected to rise.
Schnatter has courted controversy before.
In 2018 he was forced to step down as the chairman of Papa John’s, the company he founded in 1984, after using the n-word during a conference call with the company’s directors.
He later said he was trying to ‘get rid of this N-word’ from his vocabulary, although he also claimed there was a plot to unfairly paint him as a racist by his Papa John’s colleagues and an ad agency.
Schnatter has not been shy to associate his face publicly with the Papa John’s brand, appearing on the restaurant’s pizza boxes smiling and wearing an apron
It was also reported that previously he had been highly critical of the NFL’s failure to punish black players who kneeled during the national anthem.
In 2017, when he owned 31 per cent of Papa John’s stock, Forbes estimated Schnatter’s net worth to be $1billion.
But Schnatter has reportedly sold off half of his shares since then, and Celebritynetworth.com puts his net worth at $500million.
He started the company in 1984 and it quickly expanded to multiple locations.
By 1993, when he took the company public, there were 254 restaurants and as of 2020 there were 5,400 worldwide Papa John’s locations, including 3,134 in the US.
Schnatter has not been shy to associate his face publicly with the Papa John’s brand, appearing on the restaurant’s pizza boxes smiling and wearing an apron.
Papa John’s was also on the receiving end of further bad publicity over its decision to keep its stores open in Russia after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine made the country a pariah.