Jared Fogle has probably eaten his last Subway sandwich.
The sandwich chain took to Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) to break up with the longtime spokesperson for good, posting on Tuesday night: “We no longer have a relationship with Jared and have no further comment.”
Subway had previously just “suspended” the relationship when federal investigators raided Fogle’s home in early July looking for child pornography. At the time, Subway indicated that it thought (or hoped) the investigation was into Russell Taylor, the former director of The Jared Foundation, who was arrested in May on seven counts of producing child pornography videos. It was not revealed what investigators found during the raid, but now Fogle is expected to enter a guilty plea in court on Wednesday for possession of child pornography.
The Associated Press reports that federal prosecutors allege in a document released Wednesday that Fogle traveled to pay for sex acts with minors while he stayed in upscale hotels, and received child pornography that he knew had been secretly produced by Taylor. An agreement filed ahead of an expected court appearance by Fogle said he will pay $1.4 million in restitution to 14 minor victims, who will each receive $100,000. Fogle will also be required to register as a sex offender and undergo treatment for sexual disorders, the AP said.
The fact that Subway doesn’t even use Fogle’s last name in its official post about the news is a glaring reminder of just how readily associated with each other the two entities became. Fogle, who first appeared in a Subway ad in 2000, became known simply as “Jared from Subway.” His Wikipedia page calls him “the Subway Guy.”
Fans of the sandwich chain appear split on whether the Jared scandal will damage their love of the brand. A Facebook user named Matt Batson wrote on Subway’s public post, “He’s still ALWAYS gonna be Jared the ‘Subway guy’……good luck shaking that,” while another customer, Nicole Rauchman, wrote, “You can’t blame Subway for this creep’s actions… They found out he’s a freaking weirdo when the rest of us did. They fired him. End of story. I love subway.”
Fogle became Subway’s pitchman over 15 years ago after losing weight as a college student, in part by eating Subway sandwiches.