Food

Senator Tom Cotton Attacks &Pizza For Supporting Abortion Access and Making “Lousy” Pizza

The Arkansas Republican singled out the local pizza chain on the Senate floor
&Pizza's arugula-strewn Backyard Garden pie. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Republican Senator Tom Cotton is decidedly not a fan of &pizza. The Arkansas lawmaker railed against the DC-based pizza chain on the Senate floor today as part of a speech about corporations with pro-choice positions. The attack came in response to a recent full-page ad in the New York Times in which CEOs from 180 companies, including Yelp and Warby Parker, called restricting access to abortion “bad for business.” &pizza CEO Michael Lastoria was among the open-letter’s signees.

“Why do they think babies are ‘bad for business?’ That’s because they want their workers to focus single-handedly on working, not building a family and raising children… They’ll support your individuality and self-expression just so long as you stay unattached and on the clock,” Cotton says.

The perfect example of this mindset, according to Cotton? &pizza.

Cotton says the company doesn’t offer paid parental leave to its employees, but it will pay for them to get a tattoo with the company logo. “If you want to be a walking billboard for your employer, &pizza will foot the bill. But if you’re pregnant with a child, tough luck,” Cotton says. Cotton’s office tells Washingtonian that the Senator decided to single out &pizza specifically in his remarks because it seemed to be the only company on the list with that particular hypocrisy, as he sees it.

On the Senate floor, Cotton also said he would call for a boycott of &pizza, “but you could just skip them because their pizza is lousy anyway.”

Cotton’s office tells Washingtonian that he won’t try to have &pizza removed from its outpost in the Rayburn House Office Building, “because he believes in letting companies set their own policies and face ridicule for those policies.”

A spokesperson for &pizza says the company has “no comment on this at this time,” but Wednesday night, Lastoria returned the ridicule on Twitter:

Previously, Lastoria also explained his decision to sign the letter “standing up for reproductive health care” on Twitter:

This story has been updated with additional comment from Tom Cotton’s office, new tweets from Lastoria, and a response from &pizza. 

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.