Since 1999, Jared Fogle has been linked with Subway.
Now, the company has the unenviable task of distancing itself from its former spokesman and inspiration for “the Subway diet” campaign.
Business Insider reported late last week that the FBI had subpoenaed text messages between Fogle and a former Subway franchisee. In one of the messages, Fogle reportedly admits to paying for sex with a 16-year-old girl.
Subway responded via Twitter and Facebook to Business Insider’s report.
The latest allegation about Jared Fogle, if true, is appalling. As previously stated, we have suspended our relationship with Jared.
— SUBWAY® (@SUBWAY) August 1, 2015
Federal and state authorities raided Fogle’s home a month ago in relation to a child-pornography case involving the former director of Fogle’s charity.
Fogle has not been charged with a crime, and the age of consent in Indiana is 16, but Subway is doing whatever it can to sever ties, including getting rid of anything Jared-related on its website.
Subway still has some questions to answer about the case, as the former franchisee claims she reached out to the corporate office, but it did nothing at the time. Business Insider further explains:
The woman reported the communications to Subway, her lawyer says. Subway determined that no violations occurred, however, due to the fact that Fogle was not an employee of Subway—even though he was hired to do marketing for the brand.
The woman also contacted Subway’s corporate office regarding the issue, and she requested that Subway allow her to remove all marketing related to Fogle from her store, according to the lawyer.
She met with two levels of management, shared the messages with them, “and specifically requested not to have his imagery and merchandising related to him in her stores,” the lawyer said. “She also specifically warned them that he should not be interacting with young people.”
Subway is trying to compete in an ever-growing fast-casual market that has taken its toll on competitors like McDonald’s. Bloomberg reported last month that Subway had planned to rebrand Fogle, a father of two, as “a family man.” As more information surfaces, however, the brand looks like it’s changing course.