The ex-wife of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle is suing the fast-food chain, alleging that the company has known about Fogle’s sexual interest in children since 2004 but never did anything to address it.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Kathleen McLaughlin, says Subway was notified at least three times about Fogle’s “sexual interest in and activity with children” but kept featuring him in ads and did not notify authorities.
“As early as 2004, Subway’s then-senior vice president of marketing received a complaint that Jared had approached a young girl at a promotional event for a Las Vegas Subway franchise for a sex act,” the suit alleges.
Subway sent its then senior public-relations manager to ask Jared and a franchisee owner, rather than the victim, about the incident, the suit alleges. “Subway did not thoroughly investigate the report and did not alert authorities as they were legally required to do,” it reads.
Then in 2008, a Subway franchisee from Florida notified the company that Fogle had made disturbing comments about children, as Business Insider first reported. Again, the company sent its senior public-relations manager to ask Fogle about the complaint and nothing was done, the suit alleges.
“Finding out that your husband and the father of your children is a child predator, and knowing that his job involved him visiting schools on a regular basis is devastating,” McLaughlin told reporters on Monday.
She said she filed the lawsuit to get answers from Subway regarding its knowledge of her husband’s sexual attraction to children.
In response to the lawsuit, a Subway spokesman provided the following statement to Business Insider: “”As this is pending legal action, we cannot provide comment.”
Fogle was convicted and sentenced last year to nearly 16 years in prison for having sex with minors and receiving and distributing child pornography. He’s serving out his sentence at a federal penitentiary in Colorado.
He married McLaughlin in 2010 and they had two children. She filed for divorce last year after Fogle pleaded guilty to child-pornography charges.
McLaughlin’s lawsuit also alleges that Subway “provided a platform for [Fogle] to prey on children by sending him to elementary schools all over the country.”
“Despite knowing of Jared’s sexual interest in children and the then-alleged sexual acts he committed with them, Subway continued to promote their star spokesman,” the suit says.
The company launched a campaign known as “Jared’s School Tour,” which required him to visit elementary schools all over the US. He was also required to spend significant time in elementary school for his “Tour de Pants” campaign, in which he traveled around the US with the pants he once wore when he weighed 425 pounds.
By 2015, Fogle’s weight-loss story was “getting stale” so “Subway saw Jared’s family as a marketing opportunity,” the suit says.
Several months before an FBI raid on Fogle’s home – which resulted in child-pornography charges being filed against him – Subway announced a marketing campaign promoting Jared as a family man.
The company began airing a commercial that depicted animated versions of Jared’s family, including his wife and children, the suit says.
McLaughlin is now suing Subway, alleging that it depicted her in the ad without her consent. She is also accusing the company of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, alleging that the company’s “ambition for sales and growth came at the expense” of her and her kids.
Here’s the lawsuit: