Food & Nutrition

10 Fast-Food Scandals That Rocked the Industry

A bad reputation gets worse

Lodz, Poland, January 1, 2018 yellow McDonald's sign, night, clouds, moon in background, McDonald's was founded in 1940 as restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, USAGrzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock

Naysaying McDonald’s is nothing new. In 1986, a small group of protestors started handing out a leaflet called “What’s Wrong with McDonald’s: Everything They Don’t Want You to Know,” accusing the fast-food giant of everything from underpaying workers to destroying rain forests. Two of the leaflet’s writers refused to take the claims back when McDonald’s demanded an apology, launching the longest libel case in English history. After an almost year-long legal battle, the court favored McDonald’s, but its reputation still took a hit. The judge ruled that although some of the claims were false, others—like exploiting children in its ads and acting like its food is healthier than it is—held up.

Papa John puts his foot in mouth (again)

47th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards, Arrivals, Las Vegas, America - 01 Apr 2012Picture Perfect/Shutterstock

What would Papa John’s pizza be without Papa John? The world is finding out, now that founder John Schnatter was kicked out of the company. In 2017, Schnatter resigned as CEO after coming under fire for blaming slow pizza sales on the fact that some NFL players were kneeling during the national anthem. He apologized but didn’t seem to learn his lesson—after using a racial slur during a media training conference call, he was evicted from the company and later stepped down as chairman. These are the secrets your pizza delivery guy won’t tell you.

Subway spokesman has shocking arrest

Subway Spokesman Restitution, Indianapolis, USAMichael Conroy/AP/Shutterstock

For 15 years, Jared Fogle was a Subway spokesman, touting the fact that he’d lost more than 200 pounds by eating its sandwiches. But all that changed in 2015, when he was found guilty of child pornography and paying for sex with minors. Cue the “Footlong” jokes. It wasn’t the best look for Subway, who immediately dropped Fogle from its payroll when the charges came out.

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