Does the left unfairly hate Domino’s?

Domino’s reached out to us about Chris’ story yesterday about the company’s former founder, Tom Monaghan, suing the government in order to stop Obamacare’s requirement that employers’ health care plans include contraception coverage and coverage for abortion.

Domino’s was concerned that Chris expressed ire about them, when Monaghan is no longer a part of the company, and they are not a party to the anti-Obamacare suits.  Here’s what Domino’s wrote us, then a few words from me.

I am reaching out asking for a clarification/revision of your story on your Tom Monaghan Lawsuit story, which ran this morning, written by author Chris in Paris… (http://americablog.com/2012/12/monaghan-dominos-obamacare-abortion-contraception.html)

Your story indicates and implies that Domino’s is involved in this lawsuit.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Tom Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998 and today has NO active affiliation with our company. His views are not our views, nor are his actions in any way related to our actions. Domino’s Pizza has made no public statements about health care, as we are still waiting to see how the final rules will affect our network of small business owners.

Domino’s is not a political company; it is not a religious company – we are a pizza company.

Please let me know how you plan to proceed with a clarification and/or revision of this story, so the facts are not misconstrued.  Thanks and look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Chris made clear in his story that Monaghan was no longer CEO of Domino’s, and that Domino’s was not a party to the suit.  Yet Chris is still ticked at the company, and asked whether Monaghan’s suit would hurt Dominos, and it’s a fair question.

The thing is, a lot of people are still ticked at Domino’s for the Monaghan years.  I know I am.  I still avoid Domino’s when possible, even though I “know” Monaghan is gone.   (And most of us didn’t even know about the Romney/Bain connection – they owned the company after Monaghan, though they’re now gone too.)

Like Coors, years after it faced a gay backlash, Domino’s was run by a lot of right-wing jerks during much of its existence, and the company is now trying to figure out how to get rid of some serious baggage.  And like Coors, Dominos, Cracker Barrel, Chick-fil-A all give me a bad taste in my mouth, even though the first two have gotten rid of their far-right heritage.

Are liberals being unfair to Domino’s, or Coors or Cracker Barrel?  Once bad people sell a company, is it time for us to let bygones be bygones?  If Monaghan continues being a jerk, is it time to stop holding Domino’s response for his ongoing actions?

I’m not sure what the answer is. A part of me feels that all of these companies need to atone, and keep atoning, for their past sins, since their former owners made a bundle there, and are still wreaking havoc nationwide with the money they earned. Another part of me understands that it must be frustrating for Domino’s to keep having to deal with the Monaghan problem (again, who knew they had a Bain problem too?)

I’m curious what you guys think?  Is it time to let Domino’s move on?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Sabyen91

    I know this is a very old article but no, Monaghan has zero stock in Domino’s, he sold his remaining stake (which he had after the sale to Bain) in 2004 when it went public, according to Domino’s spokesman Chris Brandon.
    http://www.humanevents.com/2013/03/15/dominos-pizza-founder-wins-injunction-against-obamacare/

    It is 5 months after the article but yes, for what it is worth, I think it is unfair to blame Domino’s for its former owner. Tom Monaghan shoulders all blame for being a scumbag.

  • skepticismishealthy

    These men are both alive. You might be thinking of Jerry Falwell.

  • hollywoodstein

    Also, mr or mrs corporate reputation minder perhaps you can help me with a little problem I’ve had with one of your franchisees. A foreman for the construction crew renovating one of my properties was placing an order and since it was early in the week I wanted to add a few of your 7.99 3 topping Large carry out special pizzas to the order, ( we take care of our employees and regularly buy them lunch, etc.). We were informed that this could not be done.
    The delivery minimum order is 9.00, the order was already over 100.00, and even though we are less than a half mile away we were also paying the 1.99 delivery fee so all I wanted to do was tack on some pizzas to the order. The manager explained the carry out special was to get foot traffic in the door so they would buy something else like a coke. I explained that I was already ordering more, over $100.00, and if he wanted he could add a coke to the order. His response was no, couldn’t be done cuz policy, rules, the computer won’t let me. We considered sending someone to pick things up, but thought better of it and cancelled the order.
    I was slightly uncomfortable at ordering Domino’s to begin with since I’ve been boycotting you for years due to your right winger history, but the crew voted for pizza, and then voted Domino’s, and I didn’t want to digress into a political diatribe about how workers should pay attention to where they spend their money on things like food so I went along. In the end we bought local, got better food, and I stopped work for an extra two minutes to relate the history of Dominos and explain why I didn’t go through with the order. Most of the workers had never tasted real fresh mozzarella before. They don’t ask for Dominos anymore.
    So please, mr pr flack memo your corporate policy makers to not be so stupid and allow your local franchise managers and the computers that love them some flexibility for common sense.

  • hollywoodstein

    Corporations should be devalued for their history even after ownership change unless and until there is a demonstrated track record of changed practices, and community outreach. Perhaps the pr flack reading this can provide an account of Domino’s corporate stance regarding the lgbt community.

  • hollywoodstein

    Domino’s is noteworthy for having an entire ad campaign admitting that the product they had been selling for years sucked, and they were going to try to win back business by making it suck less. The reason it sucked is that for years and years corporate types kept cutting costs so that the pizza tasted like cardboard with ketchup and wax.
    The improvements to add taste were predictable and cheap – red pepper flake in the sauce, garlic powder and butter for the crust, and replace the wax they called cheese with a slightly better version. So yeah it sucks less, but that isn’t really saying much.
    Perhaps if they would spend some of the money they pay pr flacks to monitor blogs into making a better pizza and taking care of their employees they wouldn’t need corporate reputation minders and pr flacks.

  • hollywoodstein

    I’m old enough to remember when Domino’s was giving delivery drivers a $50 bounty to report to police if they saw a bong or smelled marijuana. Until they realized potheads with the munchies were their best customers.

  • sbgypsy

    Absolutely. I no longer go to: Walmart, Sam’s Club, Domino’s, Papa Johns, Chick Fil a, Fast Food in general, Denny’s, the 99′s, Coors… and the list goes on. I finally started eating grapes again a few years ago, but the rest of them can kiss my ….toes.

  • Vegas Dave

    Aside from the fact I would rather buy from a local pizza place than one of these chains, before I purchased from Dominos I would want to know if Monaghan still profited. That was my problem with Coor’s. For many years the while the Coor’s family was no longer running the company, they were still profiting from it and using that money for right-wing hateful actions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jameslangdell James Langdell

    New people at the head of a company like that can make a big difference. Some entrenched business practices and political positions changed very quickly at McDonald’s after founder Ray Kroc died and his widow, Joan Kroc, was in charge. But that was about as dramatic a turn in a megacorporation as I recall seeing.

  • http://twitter.com/tfranklinh TFranklinH

    Your point about the safety of the food makes the perfect statement. I wonder how many people have thought of that?

  • Tamarac Steve

    If Tom Monaghan has no connection to Domino’ then pease explain to me where he has “standing” to even bring such a lawsuit?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcus-Taylor/100002228477265 Marcus Taylor

    What are you people crying about? I remember in Downtown Oakland … smack in the middle of Jack London Square there was a restaurant by the name of … “SAMBO’S” … yea, they stayed open for a number of years.

  • MyrddinWilt

    I think they did take it public.

    BUT

    Before they did that they had looted the company and loaded it up with masses of debt. So even though it is obvious their biggest problem is that the pizza tastes like crap, there is no money to invest in making a better product.

    So the Bain legacy is going to linger a real long time.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Thats pretty much my position, I am not boycotting Dominos or Papa Johns in any meaningful sense because I just don’t like their stuff anyway.

    I am only half-boycotting Chic-fil-A because they only open one day that I could buy their product. I did buy it occasionally before (especially for the kids). I don’t think I will buy their product again unless they start opening on Sundays as I would like to see them replaced with a more convenient option.

    So I don’t buy any of the products and that is not very likely to change.

  • tsuki

    I buy local. The money stays in the community.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joyce-Harmon/100000577167249 Joyce Harmon

    I don’t understand – if Monaghan is no longer involved with Domino’s, on whose behalf is he suing? Is he suing to keep from having to give his current employees access to birth control and if so, what organization does he own that has employees with health insurance? Because if he has no involvement with Domino’s, and he’s arguing that DOMINO’S shouldn’t have to provide birth control coverage, I’d think the case would be thrown out in a heartbeat, simply due to his lack of standing.

  • monkey22

    100% agreed. If venture capital and private equity firms see that firms owned by the vocal right wing jerks have their brand damaged in perpetuity then their value will be decreased and the owners will be punished. The current owners are not blameless, they enabled Bain who in turn enabled Monahan

  • goulo

    Regardless of their corporate politics, I would avoid them, as I avoid all huge national & multinational chain restaurants, preferring to patronize local restaurants which these huge chains tend to drive out of business.

  • Likely

    The proof is in the “putting”… policy, compliance and impact are to be observed … data and activities points of analysis and judgement would work… not mere words

  • Freday63

    I agree 100%!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    His daughter probably has a trust with a hefty hunk of stock options.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    This is definitely an existential question, considering that living people like Dick Cheney or Pat Robertson have been dead for years.

  • mirth

    This story was reported all over the web. In reading several of them, I thought the post by Chris was clearest in presenting Monaghan as the former owner, emphasizing the word former in italics and going further to write “he no longer owns the company.” So my question to Domino’s is: Have you written pissy letters to all of them or just to those you thought might buckle?

    I ask because this whiny letter to Ab, all by itself with its demand for a completely unnecessary rewrite, would stop me from buying their product.

    And kudos to you, John, for sticking up for your writer even with the letter’s whiff of threat.

  • Naja pallida

    Does it matter if it is fair or not? Isn’t that how the magical free market works? Your company gets an image of paying its employees poorly, treating them like crap, and not contributing to the communities which you belong and the natural market forces turn against you, forcing you to change how you do business.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    So Aunti, how’s it living in Monaghan’s Ave Maria Catholics only town?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Cool, so we throw up just a little?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Corporations are people are my friend, and if you find out that someone is an asshole” No, you certainly don’t want to eat there!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes, I heard they get their salami (?) by cleaning the undersides of old restaurants for gum wads.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    So true, The case of Coors in point. One of the Coors sons was a top Executive and gay. When the Co. realized it was losing the college crowds for its bigoted stands, a major refacing occurred. However the following years have shown that the family still supports virulently anti gay organizations. BTW, there beer product is probably the worse horse piss in the world.

  • Glenn I

    Has the new (?) Domino’s done something to earn our respect? Do they have improved anti-discrimination policies? Do they contribute to good causes?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, I walked by the first Borders ( In Ann Arbor) everyday on my way to school.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “They will have to be pro-active in addressing past misdeeds” For starters—tear down that collection of kitsch Frank Loyd Wright corporate buildings Domino’s built in Ann Arbor.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, there should be a virgins only clause at Ave Maria township.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes, because it tastes like Wonder Bread with ketchup on it.

  • Matthew G. Saroff

    Having worked at Dominos, I can give you a hint: order the pizza with light sauce (meaning less, not a different color).
    I find the sauce too sweet and too heavy, and having less of it helps a lot.

  • Gaylib

    I haven’t heard an apology yet. And while your at it change the creepy Christianist name. Then we can talk.

  • ComradeRutherford

    No one should ever buy any chain store pizza, no matter what their political affiliation.

    Once ruined by a fascist-right owner, always ruined by the fascist-right.

    The Coors family bought ammunition for Reagan’s treason war against the democratically elected government of Nicaragua, back in the 1980s. And when Eugene Hasenfus’ plane full of illegal weapons was shot down, it was the Coors family that bought a replacement.

    The Coors Family supported treason against the United States.

    I don’t care if the Coors Family no longer gets a penny from the beer manufacturer, they won’t get a penny from me.

  • http://40yrs.blogspot.com Matthew Saroff

    Corporations are people are my friend, and if you find out that someone is an asshole, it is reasonable to expect that this will continue.

    (Yes, I know, I am quoting Mitt)

  • sherman

    What Dan said.

    I found this quite offensive “Please let me know how you plan to proceed with a clarification and/or revision of this story, so the facts are not misconstrued.”

    Domino’s is now giving a blog a task? First, you could actually read the blog and you would see what action, if any (it owes you nothing) it takes. Second, you could actually participate in the discussion here and speak for yourself.

    Domino’s is still poison to me. They will have to be pro-active in addressing past misdeeds of the company, just as they were pro-active in addressing the past quality of their pizza.

  • http://twitter.com/feministmyrmidn Josephine

    if the former CEOs/Executives still own stock and are making money off of the company, money which is likely going to Republicans and/or orgs that discriminate, then yes, boycotts are still in order

  • SanFranGuns

    Can’t we just hate them for having horrible pizza?

  • Bosfarcal

    There’s no need to ever patronize a restaurant chain, pizza or otherwise. II you look around you can probably find any number of family-owned restaurants within easy driving distance of your house. The food is better, the people are friendlier, and your money feeds the local economy instead of getting parked in a corporation’s off-shore bank account.

  • sherman

    If a point is made multiple times, missing it is the responsibility of the reader, not the author.

  • JPS

    I don’t eat Dominos because of politics. I don’t eat Dominos because the pizza is truly terrible. In some places, it would be a crime to call what they make, pizza.

  • Buford

    Simple. They are not going to ‘fix’ their bad reputation by being apolitical. If they feel that they need (deserve?) to be forgiven for the actions of the previous management team, then they need to actively work to fix the damage that management team created… not passively demand that they be handed a clean slate.

  • Rebecca Juro

    I’m a big believer in the possibility of redemption (I have to be, I vote for Democrats), but at the same time I also believe that redemption isn’t something that can be offered, it has to be earned. If Domino’s wants people to know the company no longer reflects Monaghan’s values, there are certainly many ways for a company as large as Domino’s to do that. Rather than focus on complaining when someone gets it wrong (or at least not presented in the light which the company would prefer it be cast in) on the Internet, Domino’s should think about spending some actual money to present their case in their own words, and on their own dime. Let’s see if the medical coverage they offer their employees offers benefits for transgender medical care. Let’s also see if that insurance plan covers same-sex spouses. If Domino’s wants to prove that it has done a 180 on this, there are a variety of ways for them to do so if they’re truly interested in being, rather than simply appearing, non-political or pro-LGBT.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I helped Cheryl Sommerville draft her testimony for the ENDA hearing before the Senate Labor Committee in the mid 90s. She’s the one from Cracker Barrel who was fired and they literally wrote on her dismissal slip that it was because she’s gay. She cried durin her testimony, years later.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Bain apparently took Domino’s public, I believe, and then left the building – again, that’s my understanding. These are the kind of questions it would be nice to have a definitive answer on, beyond Wikipedia.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I disagree. We’re all big boys and girls here and if the article clearly says that Monaghan has left, and that Domino’s is not a party to the suit, then it’s hard to argue that the article still tries to make you think that, when it clearly says the opposite.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That’d be one of my question – doe she truly earn nothing from the company, no stock, nothing? Same question for his family members.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    True. But I thought it was confusing to call him the founder, and not qualify it, as it would leave it vague as to whether he was still involved.

  • nicho

    He is not the “former founder.” He is the founder. He may be the former CEO, but even though he sold the company, he’s still the founder — because he started it. That hasn’t changed.

  • MichaelS

    Yes and no – until the company in question makes AFFIRMATIVE changes at rehabilitation (meaning active lobbying and financial support for gay rights causes), it should remain a parahia. Here’s why:

    1. The former owner likely retains substantial stock in the company as one of the terms of the sale. Therefore, any liberal dollars spent at the franchise go into that right-wing owner’s pocket and help fund the very causes that oppress us. (This is still the case, for instance, with TD Ameritrade.)

    2. It’s important to exact an ongoing penalty to de-value these companies, so the valuations of future sales of right-wing owned companies are devalued. Otherwise, any buyer will assume that the company will shake off its former ties with the right-wing, and will reward the right-wing seller with a higher price.

    3. I feel bad for the new owners. But not because of the ongoing bad rap the company reatins — I feel bad that they didn’t do their due diligence in the first place and realize they were buying a damaged brand, and price the purchase accordingly. THE ONLY WAY for the progressive community to force change from these right-wing companies is to exact a steep price for doing so, which means hurting the re-sale value as well.

  • GoBlue

    Monaghan has said he wants to die broke, having given all his money to charity. He’s already 75 years old and still a billionaire. Clearly he’s not giving it away fast enough.

  • buster

    Just because a company says it is not evil anymore doesn’t mean that it isn’t. To me, actions speak louder than words. Before I change my buying habits I require concrete evidence that things have changed beyond a CYA press release.

  • Aunti Disestablishmentarian

    Chris in Paris’ article was inflammatory. At multiple points he did clearly specify that Monaghan was no longer affiliated with Domino’s, but point is easily missed or ignored given the implied direction of the article.The headline is misleading, the thrust of the article is desperate to imply continued alliance of Monaghan and Domino’s. I am not here in defense of Monaghan or Domino’s past or products (irrelevant to this discussion): quite the opposite, but I question the motives of the article as written. Not cool.

  • http://twitter.com/MCN42 Michael NIlsen

    The “pizza” is awful! Politics be damned.

  • Drew2u

    Dominos has gotten better, recently, and I’d hate to see another Michigan-based company go the way of Borders. But is Dominos still run by Bain? If so, then that gives me pause for concern. And while the Pizza company can claim Monaghan has no connection with Dominos, he’s still affiliated with the name/brand through Dominos Farms.

    If Dominos really want to separate themselves from the former owner, then they need to cut ties almost completely with him and anything he owns.

  • NorthAlabama

    i still remember the cracker barrel iced tea sit-in protests during sunday lunch in nashville and atlanta in the early 90′s. i haven’t eaten there since, and don’t plan to again. never liked coors beer, but gave up killian’s red. haven’t been to a chick-fil-a in over 5 years, and won’t be back. missed the whole domino’s pizza thing, don’t know where i was, but will stop giving them business.

    why? because it matters. when you take a position of discrimination as a company, the company should suffer consequences, until a sincere outreach is made (coors) to reverse the bigoted policy. many cracker barrel employees lost their wages and benefits, some after 15+ years employment, not because they did anything wrong or performed poorly, but just because they were gay. it was written on the pink slips. unforgivable.

  • Houndentenor

    First of all, the pizza is inedible. Beyond that, it’s a crappy company along the lines of Papa Johns. How safe is it to eat food prepared and delivered by people who have no health insurance or sick days? Think they don’t come to work sick? Really?

  • Dan Tappan

    The net effect of continuing to hold them responsible is that it will cause companies run by right-wing-nutcases to have a lower valuation. Which means that they will make less money when they sell. That’s a good thing. The other way to look at it is that the current owners should have done due diligence and realized that the brand was tainted – and either paid less or done something pro-active to repair the brand. They haven’t, other than whining here; just saying “we’re waiting to decide what to do” is not proactive. So from a purely business point of view it’s their problem to fix.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000111133695 Lisa Johnson

    About 20 years ago, I liked Dominos (at least the Dominos I ordered pizza from) and it was good. Tried it a few years ago and it was awful. Haven’t had one since. If Monaghan is no longer associated that is good, but how did their name get dragged into this if he’s not a part of them anymore? That’s the piece I’m missing.

  • Straightnotnarrow

    Yes and it’s really a simple reason why. They are reaching out in a thoughtful way here. I think their pizza is shit. But if they are willing to reach out I think they deserve a second chance. Just my two cents.

  • flybob

    I stopped eating at Wendy’s when they pulled their advertising from the Ellen Degeneres Show years ago when her character came out. They said the show “no longer represents the core values of the Wendy’s customer” so I knew I was definitely not their customer. Not eating at Wendy’s was an easy decision, too, because there is always another option. People have tried to get me to eat there since because the company has been sold several times and the former bigoted Wendy’s management is ancient history, but I feel the new owners bought the poisoned Wendy’s name and left the branding in place.They felt Wendy’s bigotry was part of a good investment, so now they bear the consequences of not atoning for the brand’s sins.

  • Dembobo

    F Domino’s

  • BrianG

    I have avoided Domino’s for decades for a reason, their “product,” I hesitate to use the word pizza, is horrible.

  • http://www.thoughtcrimes.org/ Kelvin Mace

    Oh, god no. Their pizza is unforgivably horrible.

    Seriously, I don’t “forgive” companies, I forgive people, and patronize companies. If Domino’s made a product vaguely edible I might patronize them.

    Should we vilify the brand for the sins of its former CEO?. No. But it wouldn’t hurt to use that bad rap to start extracting concessions for current employees. If Domino’s wants to show us they have broken with Tom Monaghan, how about they do something like better pay for employees and spousal coverage for same sex married partners.

    Atonement IS called for.

  • beemer

    How about we just avoid Domino’s because of its awful products?

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