National News

Manager of Asheville Jimmy John's appears to write gay slur on sandwich wrapper

Posted August 18

— Roy Philbrick has been ordering Jimmy John's once a week for months on Wednesdays with his youth group.

Jimmy John's writes down a name for each order, which Philbrick said he likes to be silly with, using the nickname "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 said. "They always put "gg" or whatever the sandwich is, they never actually put what I put."

But this past Wednesday when he ordered from the downtown Asheville location under the same moniker, Philbrick said the sandwich wrapper appeared to have a gay slur written on it.

Philbrick was shocked. "I was not expecting that day to get attacked. 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 manager, who admitted to writing the name.

"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 written on the wrapper.

"And 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 when News 13 spoke to the owner of the Jimmy John's location on the phone, he explained it was an accident when the name was transcribed from the order ticket to the sandwich bag.

Duran said the manager changed her story.

"They changed it about three or four times," Duran said. "We're not stupid, sorry."

Philbrick and Duran protested the restaurant chain on Thursday afternoon in Pack Square downtown, and they, along with the rest of their youth group, are boycotting the chain.

They're asking Jimmy John's to fire the manager who wrote the name and the staff to go through sensitivity training.

Philbrick said Jimmy John's corporate office reached out to them Thursday afternoon to say officials will work with them to make things right.

The owner of the downtown location, Nick Harmon, issued the following statement:

Jimmy John's fully supports the LGBTQ community. We do not tolerate negativity in our store, do not discriminate for any reason and we welcome anyone looking for a great sandwich.

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.

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