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Papa John's faces boycott after refusing to close 190 stores in Russia

Pizza chain Papa John’s is facing heavy criticism on social media, according to multiple US media reports, after an American franchise operator in Russia refused to close 190 stores, even after the company said it would suspend all corporate operations. there after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The operator, Christopher Wynne, told The Associated Press that he will not close pizzerias controlled by his company but which are mostly owned by Russians. The 190 stores are the vast majority of Papa John’s locations in Russia.

Papa John’s followed other US companies, including McDonald’s, Starbucks, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, in deciding not to operate there.

On Tuesday, March 8, McDonald’s announced that it would temporarily close all its stores because it cannot “ignore the unnecessary suffering caused to Ukraine”, although it specified that all employees will continue to receive their salaries. The fast food chain has been operating in the country for 32 years.

Hours later, the Starbucks chain was added, which although it has more modest figures (170 stores, according to Statista, and 2,000 employees) is also another powerful symbol of capitalist globalization with its coffee shops that are usually always located in the busiest parts of the main cities. .

The company, which reiterated its condemnation “of the horrible Russian attacks in Ukraine”, announced that it is suspending all its activities on Russian territory and advanced that, as the situation evolves, it will continue to take measures that are in line with its “values”. .

A day later, Papa John’s announced in a statement that it had “suspended all corporate operations in Russia,” adding: “All operational, marketing and commercial support and engagement with the Russian market has ceased.”

“Papa John’s International does not currently receive royalties from these franchised stores in Russia. Papa John’s International does not own or operate any restaurants in Russia,” the company said in a statement.

Still, Wynne refused to close his stores. “The best thing I can do as an individual is show compassion for the people, my employees, franchisees and customers without judging them by the politicians in power,” the 45-year-old American franchisee told the newspaper.

“The vast majority of Russians are very clear-headed and understand the dark gravity of the situation they find themselves in,” he said. “And at the end of the day, they appreciate a good pizza.”

But the manager underestimated the negative reactions that his decision could have among consumers and criticism of the Papa John’s brand was not long in coming.

“Claiming that he only wants to serve Papa John’s franchise pizza, American Christopher Wynne embarks on the dark path of appeasing Putin’s genocide in Ukraine,” one person tweeted.

Many other people called for boycotts in the United States.

“I haven’t ordered #PapaJohns in years! The CEO sucks and so does his pizzas! Apparently I made a good decision since he supports Putin! #boycottpapajohns,” one person wrote.

With information from EFE

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