Papa John’s Apologizes for Calling Asian Customer “Lady Chinky Eyes”

Papa John’s has been on the receiving end of some major backlash after an Asian woman who recently paid a visit to the pizza restaurant tweeted a photo of a receipt that had “lady chinky eyes” printed on it where her name was supposed to go.

Minhee Cho, a Korean-American from New York City, posted the photo of the receipt with the racial slur on it to her Twitter page, where it was quickly retweeted by hundreds of people.

Within hours, the photo had become viral with nearly 30,000 views.

“Hey @PapaJohns just FYI my name isn’t ‘lady chinky eyes,'” Minhee Cho wrote, along with a picture of the receipt, which was issued from a Papa John’s store on Broadway.

Cho’s tweet resulted in the pizza chain firing the employee who was responsible for the offensive receipt.

Reps for Papa John’s also used the pizzeria’s Twitter and Facebook accounts to issue apologies.

A message posted to their Facebook page read:

“We were extremely concerned to learn of the receipt issue in New York. This act goes against our company values, and we’ve confirmed with the franchisee that this matter was addressed immediately and that the employee is being terminated. We are truly sorry for this customer’s experience.”

Addressing the matter via their Twitter feed, Papa John’s told their followers that they have “issued an apology, are reaching out to customer & franchise employee is being terminated.”

Despite their numerous attempts at an apology, Reuters notes that Papa John’s is likely to experience more backlash from customers, given the nonchalant response of a few employees at the offending store.

An assistant manager at the store told New York City based website Gothamist, “We’re all of different races here in this store. So she didn’t mean any harm, didn’t mean to stereotype against her, to discriminate against her, but that’s how she took it.”

Franchise owner Ronald Johnson, who runs five Papa John’s locations, including the one where the incident took place, was also sympathetic to the employee who was fired.

“I bet I’ll talk to her and she won’t know why this is offensive,” Johnson told Gothamist. “She needs to know, and she will know. If I fire her, two years from now, she won’t even remember why she got fired. If I sit her down and talk to her, I can help her.”

Meanwhile, a Papa John’s manager who simply identified himself as “Jerome” (for obvious reasons) blames Cho for the negative publicity the company has received from the incident.

“It’s affecting how we work,” Jerome complained to the New York Post. “This is a place of business. I truly don’t think it’s fair what she did; it’s just crazy … I think the lady put it out there just to get some attention — some people like that type of attention. I truly don’t think it’s fair. It’s been taking up all our time. It’s been very disruptive.”

What do you think? Did Cho just want some attention … or was she truly offended by being called “Lady Chinky Eyes?”

Your thoughts?


  • jack

    use a racist term – you are a racist

    sorry you are so un-educated that you don’t know that works like chinky are just a bad as the dreaded N word – stupidity is not an excuse – you are a racist – you are a racist – you are a racist

    boycott papa john’s – they are tacist

    they seem to hate other races and show they are intolerant – why because they are racist

    what next – make fun of sexual orientation ????

    bad company – racist company –

  • John

    This is very offensive and it goes on across the country. If the manager and employees believe this is just a joke, then maybe they should all be fired and all of them can sit down later on and wonder why they got fired. This just shows how much racism is silently creeping back into society. Little by little

  • Paul

    Even the managers think this is okay ??? I agree.. they all should be fired and not know why.

  • Look she deserved it. Papa johns is still deliciousness. NUFF SAID

  • AXE637

    As a former Papa John’s employee this is not a racist company. I worked there for over 5 years and never had any problems concerning race. They employee is oblivious ignorant if they can not figure out why they were terminated. As for “Jerome”, its the fault of all the employess of that store for the negative publicity. What did they expect a ticker tape parade? We have become a Social Media society, everything we say and do automatically gets posted on the internet for the world to see. People need to take responsibility for their actions.

  • Sam

    What was typed surely wasn’t politically correct, but boycottong Papa John’s seems extreme to me! This is an opportunity to educate people, and you can do that without beating people and businesses down. Whomever typed it probably earned a huge lesson and hopefully many other people will, too.

  • lol

    I once called a nigger a dark skinned chimp and they nothing happen. So I don’t know why this lady are angry about.

  • Alicia

    “LOL” you are an incredibly racist and ignorant person. How dare you call anyone a “dark skinned chimp”. Maybe you should go back to school and get some brains if you really don’t understand why this comment was racist. I am sorry that no one corrected you previously for your stupidity.

  • Keppler

    @Sam – Just a guess, but I’m betting you’re white, right?

  • David S.

    ? [rey-sist]
    1. a person who believes in racism, the doctrine that a certain human race is superior to any or all others.

    Most people mean ‘prejudiced’ when they say ‘racist’. Stupid people who use racial slurs aren’t necessarily racist.

  • grrrrrr

    Give me a break , She was that offended her first reaction was ” TO THE INTERNETZZ ” not to see a Manager , complain to head office , Nothing , Just..Must get to Facebook , give it a rest

  • David

    Given the idiotic comments by the manager and owner, I can’t see how Papa John’s has any choice but to yank their franchise agreement. Some idiot worker doing this is understandable (especially in that part of town), but the manager, and certainly the owner, should know better than to try to minimize this.

  • jw

    Are the managers who are dismissing their employees blatant racism crazy? They should be fired for enabling their employees to insult customers with this obvious racist insult. Of course they are dismissive because they are probably white and are insensitive and clueless. Unless the receipt says pecker wood honkey,white trash they will dismiss it and say that the lady was too sensitive.

  • Paul

    Wherever you go to work, it’s important to maintain a level of professionalism – even if you are typing up receipts at a local Papa John’s. Racist or not, if you’re getting paid to do even that, then do it properly.

    “This is a place of business.” Exactly, you are managing a place of business – you of all employees should know better. I may not know you well enough to comment on your management skills “Jerome,” but hearing your thoughts on the matter, it seems that you need to get your priorities straight. : /

  • Razzle

    The comment doesn’t mean the employee is racist. If the woman is Korean-American, she probably appears Asian. The employee probably just wanted to get the right order to the right person. Yes, it was inappropriate. Also, I don’t think the lady thought it was THAT big a deal. She was just putting it out there so Papa Johns could see and maybe improve if they want. She may have even thought it was funny. I have Asian American family members and they joke about things relating to being Asian just because that’s life, not because they think they’re better or they think other cultures or races are better. I think lots of races do that. I’ve seen Asian, Mexican, Black, and probably other races joke about their own race, and it can be funny.

  • John Maly

    Of course that’s not acceptable and it doesn’t have anything to do with racism. It could have been
    short fan man
    ugly big slob
    or any kind of insult. None of that could have been acceptable.

  • George Costanza

    Some people are just not to bright. That’s probably why she has a min wage job. She probably didn’t understand that its very offensive.

    Of course, the customer has EVERY RIGHT to be insulted by such a racist comment. The employee has lose that job just on principle if nothing else.

  • Vu McJew

    If somebody made fun of my ethnicity in a public establishment as a “joke”, I would have demanded free pizza for life. It would certainly cost Papa Johns less in the long run.

    As far as the employees involved, they should all be terminated and the franchise owner should be sanctioned for not having the common sense to know that the 1st rule of retail is to take care of your customer, not to offend them.

    As for the dipshit who likes to blacks as “dark skinned chimps” you are a total waste of oxygen.

  • distant observer

    Razzle, you’re just some bum from the deep south. The fact that you think the word ‘chink’ is not a slur, but some ‘oh haha let’s just laugh it off’ comment, shows that you ARE in fact a racist.

  • Spaghettilips

    Is that how Lady Ga Ga got her name? From a Papa Johns receipt?

  • Darth Vader

    She just wanted attention, as do all who post insignificant things on social networks such as facebook, and twitter


    First Lady GaGa and now Lady Chinky Eyes. I love her new song Pa Pa Pa Pork Fried Rice Pa Pa Pa Pork Fried Rice. LOL!

  • You’reAllIdiots

    Sorry, but the world needs to lighten up. People can’t even laugh off small slanderous comments like that? I imagine those are the same people that constantly got beat up in school too and went running to the principle. You all need to learn a little bit of humility. I’ve gotten made fun of for nearly any and every reason anyone could find while growing up. Did it bother me? Not in the slightest, because guess what, I have a sense of humor and enough of a self esteem that I know how to take a joke. It’s quite hilarious to see the world reverting to it’s 3 year old self of, “OMG let me go tell mommy on you.” Are you guys really that much of a stick in the ass? Grow the hell up, all of you. It’s not racism it’s merely some teenager having a laugh because, why the hell not, she’s a teenager. To most of your comments, you’re all ignorant immature adults that think every reason to be offended requires you feel such so you can try to pull one over on ‘the man’ to get “free pizza for life” or money or whatever else you can get your greedy little paws on.

    Oh, and just because you’re all so pathetic. Nigger, Cracker, Chink, Towelhead, Beaner, Flip, Honky, Limey, Polack, Spear Chucker, Wetback, Wop, Dogger.

    Get over it, no one cares if you’re offended, grow a sense of humor and learn to use it. The world is too big to worry about your whiny little needs along with all the celebrities, how about you go educate yourself and give the news channels a reason to report some actual news instead of pondering over all this squabble.

  • Julie

    I never even check what they call me on my receipt. I just want my food hot.

  • Tim


    To be mature altogether, you would typically avoid these “small slanderous comments” at the workplace. You’d also show others (customers at that) proper respect and courtesy – some people may not appreciate being referred to as “Lady Chinky Eyes.” It’s not so much about having a sense of humor, but rather exercising better judgement (especially at work) – that much should be obvious.



    I am so glad there are normal people in this world.
    Agree with you both.

    You do not have the right to not be offended, but while I’m at work I’m going to try not to do so.


    Let me start off by saying this is not just a matter of sense of humor or looking for attention Ms. Cho as a paying customer has every right to bring this to the publics attention. What is disheartening is how some of the employes tried to down play it or say it was making there job difficult. This is not just a racial slur but it is very unporofessional on the employes part.

  • Nancy

    Papa John’s handled it well by firing the jerk. The whole company doesn’t need to be blamed for the actions of one ignorant person.

  • David

    Why this is a big deal?

    Chinky eyes is just a description like saying that guy has silver hair.
    Seems now racist word is a basket and you can put everything in it. If you call me Chinese, you are a racist.

    • Nick Gerz

       hey david, how about niggery lips?  monkey nosed lady?  or ape-like faced lady?  nappy headed lady?  chimpy lady?  i’ll have to start using these terms since they aren’t racist and just a description.  thanks for clearing it up for me.

  • Really

    Papa Johns is commited to customer service and to quality products. It is a shame that an employee who obviously needs a lesson on customer service has placed Papa Johns in a negative spotlight. The company has a media policy that all managers sign stating they will refrain from any media. The managers in this situation are obviously attempting to “help” the situation and only making it worse. In no way is the action of this employee acceptable. I believe the woman deserves respect just like the next person. Shutting down this franchise as some stated is extreme. The persons involved should be terminated. The lives of other innocent employees are on the line here. Papa Johns should make it mandatory to use the customers name.. no “guy with glasses, or lady with red streaks ect.”

  • chinkyeyedman

    you guys are missing the larger picture here. This is a stain on the image of a large corporation. Something needed to be done – dismissal. In any, I would be offended by this comment being on my receipt. Yes it is racist. From one chinky eyed person to another – salem alechem. All comments here saying it is not racist do not understand the concept of racism. Does it have to be an “N” word ot be racist? This particular store is in Spanish Harlem – 170th Street. I have family in this area so I can imagine it was a derogatory comment. Later Gui Loos :)~

  • Random person

    The manager is just as stupid as the employee. Now if the receipt said mrs nigger lips or cracker forehead or wetback then I’m willing to bet it would be a different story well maybe not the cracker part since it seems white people can’t be offended by it. I think the backlash is about to start the shit hit the fan.

  • darnell

    I heard it was a black female employee who made the chinky comment. how ironic for someone who has been raised to be aware of prejudice to show it toward another person. i think firing her was justified.

  • R

    So I guess if I am working the counter and see a black lady it’s okay to call her a nappy headed baboon???????????? That’s what’s wrong with this country, such a double standard, black people can be racist and get aaway with it, but I’m sure it would be labeled as a hate crime if someone called a black person a baboon or nappy headed ho.

  • chinkyeyedman

    I am amazed some people here really dont find this offensive. Perhaps you havent been on the other end of a racial slur. If you have then you should be able to sympathize and not post stupid comments.





  • doormat

    It’s more of a slight or derogatory comment then a racist slur. If they wrote “cracker with the bug eyes” about me it wouldn’t really offend on a personal level but I would get that person fired because they were plain dumb to write it on the receipt. If the description had been “fat, smelly slob” that may have been offensive but my reaction would probably be the same. I wonder if the woman’s receipt had said,” narrow eyed lady” if she would have still been offended?

  • darnell

    R you are correct, and I agree. This double standard has to cease. I still do not understand why no one can say the “N” word because it is so terrible, yet many black people use it in every day speech and this is supposedly acceptable. If the word is so terrible and black people are so offended by this word, how are they allowed to use it, but if a non-black uses the word, they get fired from his/her job? Sends a very confusing message.

  • Connor

    Hahahaha – doesn’t matter if the employee knew it was a racial slur, doesn’t matter if Choo was truly offended or not – you don’t do that. “Jerome” is ridiculous. She tweeted a picture of the reciept and that’s asking for attention? Please, I would have tweeted it right at every major news station in the country. It’s one story if a high school employee did this and was messing around and got fired – but it’s another story when so many employees, managers, and franchise owners think it’s okay. Looks like Papa John’s need to look a little more into the people they’re letting represent their company.

  • ugh

    @razzle, they dumbass, props for trying to look educated but fyi mexicans are NOT a race, they are a fucking idiot.

  • jessica

    @razzle, hey, props for trying to look educated but fyi mexicans are NOT a race, they are a culture..

  • Goofy

    Well said, David S! But I wouldn’t expect most people in this comment listing to understand that; especially when some don’t know that words like “inappropriate” and “uneducated” aren’t hyphenated (e.g. postings by “MAN ROUND EYE” and “Jack”). And “CHINKYEYEDMAN” is just an idiot. Hard to find something “derogatory” when you are referring to yourself as chinky-eyed. Seriously?

  • Fish

    Cho was just seeking attention? In another article, it mentioned that she was AVOIDING media attention, locked in her apartment, that her boss had to speak for her. She could have posted the picture online just to show a few people. Almost everyone in that franchise seemed to be surprised and mad at the negative publicity. It was their fault for being ignorant dimwits.

    The worker could have used another description, such as “Asian lady with a red beret” or “tall woman with purple purse.” Or just go back and ask the customer for her name! If you still think this isn’t racist, would you like it if I wrote “fat pasty white cracker” or “ugly nappy hair lady”? And then say you’re a drama queen? I thought so.

    However I don’t blame the entire Papa John’s. Only the worker(s) at the franchise should be held responsible.

  • Fish


    I think you’re the real idiot. People can joke around and have a great sense of humor WITHOUT using racial slurs and comments. And puh-lease, tough guy, when someone in the past offended you, did you laugh? If you didn’t, does that mean you’re a depressed, emotional guy living in your mom’s basement with no humor whatsoever? NO!

    A worker is supposed to act professional and be good-mannered because it is, after all, representing the company. If THIS is too difficult to accomplish, the worker deserved to be fired.

  • Not funny

    You must be idiots if you think we need to lighten up. This was not a joke. Hey, if my friends joke around with me, thats cool, but if it’s some random lady at the store who is calling me a chinky eyed man, you expect me to find that funny? that one guy who said he was humiliated all his life, blah blah blah it was a joke, i can brush it off, is an idiot. I know you are just seeking comments and I know you are not that stupid. If i hired you and put you in front of the counter, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t write crap like that on your receipt cuz you know you will probably get fired or something. This lady was oblivious and if you seriously don’t know what words are considered prejudice in 2012, you need to go back to school or find another job that doesn’t require you to use your brain. Now papa johns did what they had to and she definitely should be fired right away. The manager too. Boycotting papa johns is going a little far. It was one employee who messed it up for everyone. just get rid of the people that messed it up and move forward. i work in customer service and honestly in 2012, i’ve never seen it this bad. i had a lady get mad at me because i wanted to void a credit card transaction and pay with cash and the manager had the nerve to be on her side saying i was wrong for not knowing NY tax laws and that I couldn’t calculate it in my head. #GTFO

  • Not funny

    This also happened in december at chick-fil-a where a girl put “Ching” and “Chong” on the receipt for two asian guys. that lady was fired as well. As an asian american, it’s sad to see that while anything towards a black man is taboo, but asians, indians, and arabs are free game. I work in an office and people throw around asian and indian stereotypes and impressions OPENLY, but keep all their racist black slurs deep inside cuz they are scared. Yes, you are scared. Look at your office or job and you will notice this. I hate people who say i’m not racist but clearly are. Yes, i will use the term racist, dont give me a dictionary lesson. racist means you think your race is the best and prejudice means other races are the worst. So pretty much they mean the same thing. WAKE UP AMERICA. Who cares where u from or what u look like? I’m a calm guy but straight up people like that make me want to choke someone out.

  • Dazzle

    @Razzle: There is a very big difference between referring to an Asian lady as, “Asian lady” and referring to her as “Lady Chink Eyes”.


    I agree the world is too small for comments like that, but boycott Papa Johns because they are a racist company jebus crestos. People who think like that are the ones that spill hot coffee on their junk and then blame the restaraunt for giving them their order. Why don’t we have a lynching for the employee that used the name, the manager, and while we’re at it the owner of the freakin chain.

    Why don’t we spend our time worrying about how we act and teach our children to act in stead of pushing a whole freaking company into a stereotype. Have you taught your children about tolerance? Could this be an example to use for inappropriate behavior? What was the last thing you did to promote a better society? If we all stopped living in our own freaking cosmos and noticed the other PEOPLE around us this world would be a better place.

  • Joe Dirt

    It was a scam, she called and gave that name and the employee was in on it. Its true look it up on snopes.

  • Dimwits

    She is a dumbass. Go back to china!

  • Snopes

    Yes it is a scam. Once again the minorities are always looking for freebies.

  • Scamp

    Is it necessary to put the customers name on the receipt?

    McDonald’s does very well by just referring to order number.

    I think when they implemented the name input system they didn’t forsee that more people would be pissed off by misspelled names and occurrences like these when the employee doesn’t want to ask for a name.

    I’ve never been offended by a cashier referring to me by customer number. I think it’s a more superior system.

  • Jack

    Jack, you are an idiot. Does it make me racist to call you an idiot? No, because you are actually an idiot and I dont give a sh*t what your skin color is. People need to get over themselves and stop with this “It hurt my feelings” bullsh*t”. Yes it was a racist comment. Yes this person should be taught and learn from it. Aside from that, big whoopy f*ckin do. Get over it and move on with your life.

  • Goofy


    After all your ranting you close out your comments by saying “Who cares where u from or what u look like?” Apparently YOU do by describing yourself as “Asian American”. Idiot.


    FISH – If you called a fat white guy “fat pasty white cracker”, if he got upset, it is because you called him fat, not because of the pasty white cracker part. If you called a fat black guy “fat dark black monkey”, more than likely he will care less that you called him fat. If a white man makes the “fat dark black monkey” comment he is a racist. If a black man makes the “fat pasty white cracker” comment, he is a comedian and everyone laughs.

    GOOFY – I did not check for grammatical errors. Since your intelligence is far superior to everyone’s, please proof read my post for mistakes. Thank you.

  • Starfish

    Racist terms are never acceptable in a business or workplace. How certain employees, managers?! interpreted the racist slur as a ‘joke’ just made the incident worse. They are either unaware that it was offensive which is sad or, living in a part of the U.S. where this type of attitude is common??

    C’mon ‘Jerome’… I bet if you were on the receiving end you’d be singing a different tune. What a hypocrite. The CUSTOMER was not ‘seeking attention’ and probably never expected to be referred to that way in today’s day of age. Most likely she was offended and NOW YOU PUT YOURSELF ON BLAST with your ridiculous comments to defend the cashier.

    Papa John’s must look into these employees who don’t seem to follow. They need to go.
    At least the store owner said it was wrong. He had a valid point saying the cashier needs someone to explain to her why it was wrong. Although, even as a young child I didn’t need anyone to explain to me about basic human rights.

    No customer would feel comfortable in a store where there is tolerance for racism.

  • Mr Bing

    That lady who that happened to is sitting on a bundle of money, hope she gets a lawyer and SUES THEM!!!

  • chinkyeyedman

    @GOOFY <<< fuk u

    I give myself the name 'Chinkyeyedman' because as an Asian, I am entitled to poke fun at myself while at the same others arent allowed. This is the logic, or double standard, that is is used in the media particularly with black people who use the 'N' word. I am being satircal. Even a half-wit like yourself can see that. But, more seriously, as a customer of any store in this country, no one should have to put up with behavior like this.

  • Goofy


    Even a chimp could see your spelling of “in-appropriate” inappropriate. (Get it?!) Since I’m a “half-wit” (a gracious compliment from “CHINKYEYEDMAN”), it was relatively easy for me to see. That said, I imagine your intelligence would rank somewhere between a doormat and a lobotomized Down syndrome patient. Either way, I’m honored that you seek my approval. Helping the less fortunate is my way of giving back. Speaking of which… “Proofread” is a compound word; ergo your spelling of the word as “proof read” is incorrect. TTYL. XOXO.

  • Goofy


    Self-deprecating…inferiority complex… What a shame. And I had such high hopes for you. Can’t blame you, though. “Double standards” by you and/or the media has clouded your judgment; but it’s still no excuse, nor is it a valid argument. You’re only creating more of a disconnect between yourself and others. Furthermore, descriptions such “African American” and “Asian American” do nothing more than separate people from the herd, so to speak. You’re either American or you’re not. Get over yourself. You’re only perpetuating the idea that you’re “different”. The idea of being PC has done more to cement the “siloing” (if I can make up my own word) of race and culture in this country than it has done to benefit it. You might actually be able to see that if you’d simply lay off the sticky rice and sake. (Oops… Was I not supposed to write that? I figure since you poke fun at yourself, I can too. Weeeee!!!!!)

  • nate

    Look people, what happened was bad, and the employee responsible should have been terminated. The managers who have tried to minimize this for the sake of bad publicity should have their jobs brought into question. I have no exaggerated preconcieved notions about papa johns being a prejudiced company, as they aren’t, how ever, the situation has to be rectified.

  • Rasslin Reel

    That “Jerome” character is full of crap. How can it be a “craving attention” when Ms. Cho was showing evidence of racism in the workplace. This is no “race card”…it’s a smoking gun.

    And if it changing the way “Jerome” works, then can we take this to mean that they call all of their customers racist names on the receipts? If this dumbass is a manager, I can only imagine how dirt dumb the people who work under him are.

  • Dave

    This article leaves out some critical facts in order to create a “debate” based on “Jerome’s” stupid comments.

    According to Cho’s employer, SHE DIDN’T WANT ANY ATTENTION AT ALL. All she did was post it to her own Twitter feed. She only expected her own friends to see it. She never asked for it to go viral, she never asked for it to go to the press (she wants the press to stop bothering her and finds the attention embarrassing), she never asked for anything and she’s not demanding sympathy or claiming to be a victim. She only posted it to her own Twitter followers! How many people follow YOUR tweets? Would you ever expect any of your own tweets to go viral?

    Jerome, if it’s affected your business, blame the idiot who started this by putting those words on the receipt. Don’t blame Cho, this isn’t her fault at all. And if you can’t see that, you’re too stupid to be running a business.

  • Rasslin Reel

    I like how they tried to cover up how all the players in this fiasco on the Papa Johns side are black. The store owner, who was forced to fire her, is black. “Jerome”, the assistant manager, is black. The girl that put the racial slur on the receipt is black. If a black person in a predominantly white neighborhood would have gotten a racist receipt, heads would be demanded and had (and they wouldn’t stop at one) and names would be named along with their races. They should have owned up and apologized rather than minimize what happened. And if I were a member of corporate, I’d latch onto that statement “Jerome” made about, “Changing the way they do things” and put that branch on watch as well as do an internal audit of the receipts they’ve been making over a certain amount of time.
    If there is to be zero tolerance for racism, it has to be zero tolerance for everyone regardless of their skin color. White, Black, Asian, whoever…no “heart to heart talks” or “sensitivity training” in lieu of firing just because you and the offender share the same skin color.

  • elle


  • Fred Miranda

    This be chanky.