This comment of the week comes to us from James Holmes' post from early May, "More Than One Reason Not to Eat at Jimmy John's". For some reason his post went viral this month and has garnered over 10k Facebook shares alone in the past week. (And an email from the company's marketing department demanding we remove their trademarked logo from the post. We kindly wrote back and explained trademark law and declined to remove the graphic.)
Jim points out that the founder of Jimmy John's, John Liautaud, is a rightwing kook. He hunts big game in Africa (we posted photos of him on safari displaying the corpses of a leopard and an elephant he killed), donates to far right politicians like infamous Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, and regularly engages in union busting techniques to keep his employees from getting uppity and wanting perks like a liveable wage or paid sick days.
The long comments thread has mostly focused on either a) big game hunting or b) how good the sub shop's sandwiches are. Dan Lovinger, however, commented with a different perspective on the controversy.
I'm an assistant manager at a Jimmy John's restaurant, and also a highly liberal person. While it's true that some of Jimmy's personal actions and philosophies are downright despicable, and let's be honest, they are, it's also important to note that of the 1300 JJ restaurants in the country, only 18 or so are actually owned by Jimmy. The rest are independently owned franchises that give less than 10% of their profits as corporate royalties. There's no reason to boycott the entire corporation simply because the creator spends his own money and time in a less than ethical manner. If that's your concern, focus your efforts towards a company like Chic-Fil-A that donates a portion of your purchases towards anti-gay corporations like the Family Research Council.
While I see Dan's point about punishing innocent employees and franchise owners over a problem with the chain's owner, I'd also point out that the majority of Chick-fil-A's are also independent franchises. While a portion of the chicken chain's profits are given to rightwing organizations, a portion of Jimmy John's cash goes to rightwing politicians who support and tout those organizations.
So what do you think about the controversy? Will you stop eating Jimmy John's subs based off Liatraub's jackassery?