Women’s soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe has become a polarizing figure due to her outspoken social justice activism and some Subway franchisees are calling for the company to boot her from ads only months after reaching a deal to promote the brand.
Rapinoe, who is recognizable for her purple hair, has given many indigestion for her national anthem kneeling, appearing to stomp on the American flag during the 2019 World Cup finals, and for her open disrespect for then-President Donald J. Trump when she said that she would not be “going to the f***ing White House” to be honored for the win.
The discontent came to a head, coinciding with Rapinoe’s elevated profile as a member of the U.S. Olympic team, at this year’s summer games in Tokyo where she took a knee during the national anthem.
Citing customer complaints that were inevitable after the global fast-food giant shelled out big bucks to have such a divisive figure to hawk its products, the North American Association of Subway Franchisees expressed displeasure with the parent company following a discussion on the group’s online message board last month.
If You Can't Respect Our National Anthem And Our Flag,Then You Shouldn't Be Representing Our Country In Olympics Or Be Able To Make Profits After Disrespecting Our Country Megan Rapinoe And Subway…#BoycottSubway#MeganRapinoe pic.twitter.com/blk7kRcoi8
— Paul (@Paul85733630) August 2, 2021
A member posted a hand-written sign that was left on the door of a Wisconsin store that read, “Boycott Subway until Subway fires the anti-American … Megan Rapinoe, the creep who kneels for our beloved National Anthem!”
According to a letter obtained by the New York Post, the NAASF complained to the parent company that the decision to feature the 36-year-old athlete was upsetting customers and asked that they pull the ads. In the letter, the group’s executive director Illya Berecz wrote to members, “Your NAASF Board has already communicated with leadership the concerns voiced by NAASF membership.”
The Post story quotes an attorney who represents the franchisees.
“I had a bunch of franchisees calling me on this today,” the lawyer told the paper, “They are trying to get the ads pulled.”
Backlash immediately began to build after an ad where Rapinoe knocked a burrito out of a man’s hand, ordering him to eat a Subway sandwich instead, and has since intensified.
“The ad should be pulled and done with,” one franchisee wrote. “It gets tiring apologizing.”
Rapinoe’s virtue signaling had many Americans cheering after the Olympic women’s soccer team’s disastrous performance in Tokyo, following up an opening game loss to Sweden that ended a streak of dominance and then being stunned 1-0 by Canada in the semi-final that ended any chance for the Gold Medal.
Following the Olympic disappointment, Trump spiked the ball in another one of the statements that he has issued since he was banned by every social media platform in January,
It isn’t the first time that Subway has had troubles with the face of its advertising campaigns; before Megan Rapinoe, there was Jared Fogle who is currently serving time in federal prison after pleading guilty to sex crimes including the distribution of child pornography.
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