Jimmy Johns

Jimmy John’s Manager Writes Anti-Gay Slur On Customer’s Wrapper

"They didn't physically attack me, but that's very rude and very offensive," says Roy Philbrick.

A customer at a Jimmy John’s restaurant in North Carolina says he received a homophobic slur in addition to his sandwich.

Roy Philbrick is a longtime customer at the Jimmy John’s in downtown Asheville, where he brings his youth group every Wednesday. Philbrick says he likes to be a little silly when he gives his order, giving the name “gayest of gay.”

“I’m fine with my sexuality, and I’m pretty out there, so I didn’t think there would be an issue,” Philbrick told ABC News 13. “They always put “gg” or whatever the sandwich is, they never actually put what I put.”

But this week when he ordered his meals as “gayest of the gay,” his wrapper had a homophobic slur written on it instead.

“I was not expecting that day to get attacked,” said Philbrick. “They didn’t physically attack me, but that’s very rude and very offensive,” he said of what was written on the sandwich.

Philbrick’s partner, Bastian Duran, called the shop’s manager, who admitted she wrote the slur.

Jimmy Johns

“I explained to her it was offensive, that was the main thing, and I kept repeating myself because she kept saying she was sorry and that she understood,” Duran said. “She explained that she was the one who wrote it.”

The receipt did say “gayest of gay,” but that’s not what was on the wrapper.

“Her response to that was, ’Well I wrote it, and I was going to re-wrap it, but I thought it was too funny so I didn’t,'” Duran said.

But asked about the incident by News 13, the owner of the Jimmy John’s franchise insisted it was an accident when the name was transcribed from the order ticket to the wrapper.

“They changed [their story] about three or four times,” Duran said. “We’re not stupid, sorry.”

Philbrick and Duran protested the sandwich shop in Pack Square yesterday, and are asking the franchise to fire the manager responsible and send staffers through sensitivity training. Philbrick has heard from Jimmy John’s corporate office, which promised to make amends.

Nick Harmon, the owner of the location in question, issued a statement saying the company fully supports the LGBT community.

“We do not tolerate negativity in our store, do not discriminate for any reason and we welcome anyone looking for a great sandwich,” he added.

“One of my longstanding managers tried her best to comply with the name the on-line customer requested to be placed on the sandwich. We are deeply sorry that we offended the youth group. They have been great customers for my location over the years, and we have been working with them to make this right.”

In 2015, a Jimmy John’s employee in Mississippi was allegedly fired after co-workers resented having a gay man as a supervisor.

After he was promoted to manager, his now-subordinates began calling the staffer a faggot in front of customers and fabricated stories of being sexually harassed. One male employee circulated an email “about how disgusting [being gay] was and how uncomfortable his lifestyle made them.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery