New #woke Papa John's ad: 'Let us show you the love. By taking your money.'

Get your "free" apology pizza -- conveniently, just in time for the NFL's opening weekend.

Get your "free" apology pizza -- conveniently, just in time for the NFL's opening weekend. Twitter

"Everyone loves pizza," Papa John's tweeted last night.

This is true.

"We believe pizza should love everyone right back."

This is... confusing.

"That’s why this weekend, your pizza is on us."


Unless you interpret "on us" to mean "Included if you spend $12. And download our app."

The tweet and accompanying video are the latest in PJ's attempt to pull out of its pepperoni death spiral after reports that founder John Schnatter used the N-word during a May conference call. Schnatter apologized and stepped down in the aftermath, but the backlash was swift and strong.

Papa John's Cardinal Stadium has been renamed; here in Minnesota, the Twins loudly cut all ties with the company. (Then quietly restored them.) The whole ordeal has stained Papa John's middling-at-best brand like sad, weirdly sweet marinara sauce on a crisp white shirt.

Their only remaining play, really, was the one they're pretending to make: accept responsibility, act like you've grown, and make every non-white employee you've got read from cue cards.

Late last month, they released a "We heard you" commercial loaded with screenshots of tweets like "We won't put another dime into Papa John's," and "I will not give you any more of my $$$."

The thing is, Papa John's wants more $$$, and wants your dimes. Specifically, 120 of them. Hence the mea culpa, the updated values statement from new CEO Steve Ritchie, the claims like "Thank you for your honesty. It is making us better," and "We believe pizza should love everyone."

Pizza loves no one, Papa. It's food, and one you should figure out how to make.

Any time a corporation starts a sentence with "We believe..." the implied, unstated conclusion is "...that what we're saying will help us sell more of our product." Brands aren't your friends, much as they want to convince you that they are. Can a corporate culture that had a slur-slinging guy like Schnatter at the helm for decades right its wrongs with a few tweets?

Can Papa John's find its soul juuuuuuust in time for the NFL's opening weekend?

If you think yes, and want to give them 12 bucks, you can head to and collect your "free" large pizza through Sunday, September 9.