January 8th, 2012
03:34 PM ET

Papa John's apologizes for receipt's racial slur

Papa John's Pizza fired a cashier at one of its New York restaurants and apologized to an Asian-American customer for a receipt that identified her as "lady chinky eyes."

"We were extremely concerned to learn of the receipt issued in New York," the company said in a statement posted on its Facebook page Saturday.

Minhee Cho, a communications manager at nonprofit investigative journalism group ProPublica, posted a photo of the receipt on her Twitter account Saturday morning and by the afternoon it was picked up by a local newspaper.

Along with the receipt, Cho tweeted "just FYI my name isn't 'lady chinky eyes.'"

The receipt had been viewed online almost 200,000 times by Sunday afternoon, according to the counter on the Twitpic page.

Cho did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment, but her boss did.

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Filed under: New York • Race • U.S.
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. sw8912

    To everyone who thinks that this was acceptable, the actions displayed by this particular Papa John's worker are offensive and ridiculous. I don't think it's okay at all to brush it off as "the insensitive Americans that society is breeding" and I most definitely don't think its okay for other Asians to claim that this was not offensive. Asians need to stop trying to assimilate into American society (we will never be White, get over it), and embrace our culture.

    Want to know the reason why this would be a total firestorm if it had happened to a Black victim? Because the Black community is cohesive and proud, and they make it very clear that they know they have a different history than White Americans, and will not accept this kind of discriminatory treatment.

    Guess what, Asians of America. Here's a history lesson for you. OUR great grandfathers helped build the transcontinental railroads that paved the way for this country to become great and united. WE have played a major role in the growth and advancement of the United States. Though Asians may have come to the United States voluntarily, we were regarded by most Americans (including President Woodrow Wilson) as no better than slaves. Look up the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and tell me that Asians were not vehemently discriminated against. Now, instead of fighting for our own rights to live as something more than second-class citizens, as we have been since 1840, there are ignorant Asians who are not offended by incidents such as these. For shame.

    Papa John's is right in terminating the offending employee, and their management is right on track in showing their remaining employees that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. Its the Asian American community that needs to the wake up call. Its time we learn to recognize and fight against racism, instead of facilitating it with claims of, "that's not so offensive".

    January 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Francis

      Your response was perfect. Thank you.

      January 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • THNIDU

      Exactly right, and well put.

      January 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jj

    It's funny. I love asians. It's hard to remember ppl in service industry. I tried a job like that.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Geochrim

    The fact that some ignorant people don't consider "chinky" a racist term doesn't mean it's not racist. It just means those people are ignorant.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Craziness

    There is racism in every part of this country whether you like it or not. Kids in some neighborhoods grow up with these racist "slang" terms. This is all they have known. Until management, even in fast food, teach their employees to be culturally respective, you will have this type of behavior. There was a lady in my church (very elderly) who used the "N" word all the time. She wasn't intentionally being racist or demeaning, but that's what she grew up with. No one taught her any differently. I'm am certainly not condoning it, but until someone steps in and teaches them, or makes them an example to others, this will continue. Education is key. Educate your employees on what is or is not acceptable.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • THNIDU

      I agree. And in some parts of the country that is, or was (as when this elderly lady was growing up), just plain the *ONLY* word for (what we now call) a Black person, and is/was as neutral as "white", i.e., not demeaning or insulting.
      - language researcher who's been in such areas and heard the usage

      January 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. phoodphite

    Pope John should not be apologizing to anyone about a receipt. I'm sure he had nothing to do with it. It was probably handled by one of those nice looking guards in the colorful costumes.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. gitoreit


    January 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. alfonds

    What's the big deal? The employee shouldn't have been fired–Mexicans Blacks are ridiculed everyday -No one gets fired.

    January 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fo

    Get over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Outsider75

    Racism is ignorant but it is also a person's choice/ right.
    Words are just words, consider the source.
    Phoodphite? this had nothing too do with the Pope.
    I think this is blown way out of proportion.
    It is kind of funny though that if this had happened to a white american, oh wait we wouldn't have heard about it if that was the case.
    Not that racism doesn't occuur againgt white americans, it just doesn't seem to matter when it does.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jerome Horowitz

    I like Chinese
    I like Chinese
    They only come up to your knees
    But they're cute and they're cuddly
    And they're ready to please

    I like Chinese food
    The waiters are never rude
    Unlike this Papa John's server!

    February 7, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. pizza SulejĂłw

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    April 22, 2012 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
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