Papa John's is facing the wrath of their customers, and not just because their Obama-fearing CEO is threatening to cut employer's hours; it turns out the company sent customers over 500,000 unwanted text messages in early 2010. According to the the attorney representing the victimized fans of crap pizza, some customers received 15 or 16 texts in a row, often in the middle of the night.

"After I ordered from Papa John's, my telephone started beeping with text messages advertising pizza specials," Erin Chutich, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "Papa John's never asked permission to send me text message advertisements."

The suggested compensation for all this harassment? $250 million, or $500 per text (or $1500 per text if the jury decides Papa John's willfully broke the law).

Papa John's denies any responsibility, of course, and instead blames "third-party vendors and a small number of franchises." That third party vendor is OnTime4U, a mass text messaging service; the company is also named in the lawsuit.

Papa John's and its franchises ended their relationship with OnTime4U in April 2010 after the lawsuit was first filed, and the corporation sent out a memo telling its franchises that sending unsolicited texts to people is "most likely illegal," which, as CNN notes, it is.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 bars companies from sending advertisements via text message without a consumer first opting into the service.

The lesson here? Ban Papa John's. Boo Peyton Manning and Taylor Swift. Solidarity with the victims. Etc.

In unrelated news: Because the Chick-Fil-A stuff was so much fun, conservatives are reportedly rallying to support Papa John's in response to reported protests from liberals. Hooray for the possibility of more food-based culture wars.

[via The Atlantic Wire//Image via AP]