Subway customers in the U.S are boycotting the sandwich store because sportswoman Megan Rapinoe features in a new advert for the fast-food chain.
Business Insider reported that branches across the country have reportedly received an onslaught of hate in the form of letters and messages on social media following Rapinoe's appearance.
Rapinoe is an American soccer player and has won two World Cups with the U.S woman's soccer team. She has also won a gold and a bronze medal at the Olympics. She appears in the ad alongside other American sporting legends Serena Williams, Tom Brady, and Steph Curry.
Subway Commercial 2021 - (USA)(1)
One branch of Subway reportedly found a note on its front door reading: "Boycott Subway until Subway fires the anti-American." According to Insider, some branch managers have also complained about the backlash with one person saying: "By knowingly hiring a flashpoint personality to represent the brand with our money, the franchisor has failed."
Rapinoe has often been called "anti-American" by her detractors for her liberal and left-wing political views. She is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and her fiancée Sue Bird is part of the U.S women's basketball team. She is also an avid speaker for women's rights in sport, saying they should be paid equally to men.
She made headlines during the 2019 women's World Cup when she said that she and the team "wouldn't go to the White House" should they win the competition in protest of the Trump administration.
She also showed her support for the Black Lives Matter movement by taking the knee during the national anthem. The Hill reports that she was subject to false accusations that she had "stomped on the American flag".
This culminated in conservatives, including former president Donald Trump forming a real hatred for the sports icon. Despite all this, Subway's senior director of brand communications Brad Simon told USA Today: "Megan is one of several athletes and celebrities Subway partners with, but they are not the official company spokesperson."
Conservative author Brigitte Gabriel wrote that "patriots" won't eat at Subway until they drop Rapinoe from the ads, whilst Trump-endorsed writer Nick Adams encouraged people to "RT if you won't eat @SUBWAY until they FIRE America hating Megan Rapinoe."
Until Subway DUMPS Megan Rapinoe, patriots won't eat there! cc: @SUBWAY— Brigitte Gabriel (@Brigitte Gabriel) 1628389458.0
When the U.S team defeated Australia at the Tokyo Olympics to win bronze, Donald Trump hit back at the bright-haired sportswoman: "The woman with the purple hair played terribly and spends too much time thinking about Radical Left politics and not doing her job."
Trump went on and said through a prepared statement, "If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn't woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze."
A veteran franchisee of Subway also told Insider: "If there is negative pressure, it is not hurting much. I think we need a broad spectrum of spokespeople that appeal to different groups."
According to Newsweek, the North American Association of Subway Franchisees (NAASF) met last month to discuss the ad, among other issues. Executive director Illya Berecz told members that they'd already voiced concerns to the company. The bulk of complaints and concerns came from predominantly red states and counties around the country.