Subway Guy’s Home Raided – Child Porn

Subway Spruiker’s Home raided - Child Porn 

HE was the average Joe who lost a truckload of weight by eating his favourite fast food. But the man whose diet story propelled him to international fame and fortune as the face of Subway has been caught up an a scandal of the most unpalatable kind.

The FBI raided sandwich-shop spruiker Jared Fogle’s home as part of a child porn probe overnight, and sources say the married 37-year-old is “a target’’ of the investigation.

“They got search warrants and raided his place and confiscated electronics,’’ a law enforcement told The New York Post of the 6.30am raid at Fogle’s house in the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville. “He is a target.’’

Subway said it mutually agreed with Fogle to suspend their relationship.

The separation was jarring because the 37-year-old everyman has become a familiar face around the world.

Fogle shot to fame in 2000, after the junk-food addict revealed how he had shed more than 100 kilos by simply switching to Subway and exercising. Profiled in a magazine story titled ‘Stupid Diets … That Work!’, he was picked up by the brand to film TV ads and has since been credited by the company for helping it triple sales since 1998.

He’s helped Subway grow into the world’s biggest restaurant chain.

To many, he’s known simply as “the Subway guy” who shed a massive amount of weight by eating the chain’s sandwiches. His story is perhaps the biggest reason for Subway’s image over the years as a healthy place to eat.

“That story played a huge role in (Subway’s) growth,” said Mary Chapman, senior director of product innovation at Technomic, a market research firm. “It’s not just Jared the man, it’s what it represents.”

Though Fogle hadn’t been front-and-centre in Subway’s advertising recently, he had still been acting as a Subway spokesman and appearing at events on the company’s behalf.

Fogle’s history with Subway reaches back to when he was a student at Indiana University. The college paper featured the story, which was then picked up by Men’s Health, according to a page on Subway’s website that was removed on Tuesday.

Jared Fogle leaves a police vehicle outside of his home after an FBI raid.

Jared Fogle leaves a police vehicle outside of his home after an FBI raid. Source: AP

Soon after, Subway’s advertising agency reached out to Fogle and asked if he wanted to be in a TV commercial. The ensuing ad campaign resonated in part because Fogle seemed like such a regular guy, which made weight loss seem simple and achievable.

In the years since, Fogle’s estimated worth has been put at around $15 million.

FBI agents, state police and US Postal Service investigators were seen entering his home and taking items out to a mobile forensics van in the driveway.

At one point, Fogle was spotted leaving the trailer with an official and entering his half-million-dollar house again.

He was whisked from the home in a black Lexus hours later, the Indianapolis Starnewspaper said.

The raid comes about two months after the executive director of Fogle’s Jared Foundation, Russell Taylor, was arrested in Indianapolis on federal child-porn charges. The foundation aims to reduce childhood obesity.

Taylor was allegedly caught with 500 videos and images of child porn involving both boys and girls, including some as young as 9 years old.

According to a criminal complaint, investigators found a 4GB thumb drive in the cache with a file called the Jared Foundation, and inside was a folder labelled “Good stuff,” TMZ reports. The folder contained loads of child porn, the website said.

At least some of the images appeared to be “commercially made child pornography from Eastern Europe,” the Star said, citing court records.

After Taylor’s bust, Fogle said his foundation was cutting all ties with his business partner.

In 2007, the VH-1 pop-culture show Best Week Ever reported that Fogle himself once ran a successful porn-rental business out of his dorm at Indiana University.

While Best Week Ever characterised Fogle’s porn library as “vast and extensive,” there was never a suggestion that the operation was illegal or involved children.

Fogle is a regular on the public speaking circuit and was once the subject of an episode of South Park. He has a Subway “black card” which entitles him to free food for life.

Subway says it is shocked by the turn of events involving its chief spruiker.

Subway says it is shocked by the turn of events involving its chief spruiker. Source: AP

Of course, Fogle wasn’t the only reason for Subway’s growth over the years. Its $5 Footlong was popular with people looking for a deal, and some liked that they could customise their sandwiches. And even while touting its “Eat Fresh” motto, the chain catered to people who just wanted something filling with options like meatball subs and a chicken enchilada melt stuffed with Fritos.

Still, Fogle was instrumental in Subway’s success over the years. The company’s continued relationship with Fogle until yesterday is also a testament to his enduring importance to the company.

In 2013, Subway celebrated the 15-year anniversary of Fogle’s famous diet by featuring him in a Super Bowl ad and making him available to news organisations for interviews. At the time, Fogle said he still travelled regularly throughout the year on behalf of Subway.

The company, based in Milford, Connecticut, has declined to provide details on its financial arrangements with Fogle. But his roles for Subway have varied; last year, Subway had Fogle deliver bouquets made of vegetables to news organisations for National Eat Your Vegetables Day.

His Twitter feed also showed he was still making appearances in connection with the company as recently as this weekend.

Federal authorities talk outside of the home of Subway restaurant spokesman Jared Fogle,

Federal authorities talk outside of the home of Subway restaurant spokesman Jared Fogle, Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Zionsville, Indiana. Picture: Michael Conroy Source: AP

Subway’s competitors have felt pressure from the chain’s “Eat Fresh” image, too. When McDonald’s added chicken McWraps to its menu in 2013, the company referred to the new menu item as a “Subway buster” that would keep customers from heading to the sandwich chain, according to an internal memo obtained by Ad Age.

In 1999, the year before Fogle appeared in his first Subway commercial, Subway had about 11,800 stores in the U.S. and 2,200 overseas, according to Technomic. As of last year, those figures have mushroomed to about 27,000 US locations and about 16,000 overseas, making Subway the world’s largest restaurant chain by locations.

More recently, Subway has run into challenges.

The company is privately held and does not release financial information. But last year, Technomic said average sales for Subway stores in the US declined 3 per cent from the previous year.

The chain has been trying to keep up with changing attitudes about health and said last month it would remove artificial ingredients and colours from its menu in North America by 2017.

Another problem for Subway is that it has strayed from its low-price appeal, noted Chapman of Technomic. She said Subway is also facing more competition, including from places such as Firehouse Subs.

The FBI on Tuesday wouldn’t provide details on the nature of the investigation into Fogle. But Subway said it was “shocked” and believed the news to be tied to a previous investigation of a former employee of Fogle’s foundation.

In a statement about the suspension of the relationship, Subway said Fogle “continues to cooperate with authorities and he expects no actions to be forthcoming.”

An attorney for Fogle said he was cooperating with the investigation and “looks forward to its conclusion.”

The sandwich man’s neighbours described him as extremely private.

“He’s like an endangered species or something like that,” said Jacob Schrader, 19, who lives across the street from Fogle and has seen him about a dozen times in nearly six years.

Meanwhile, Taylor, 43, attempted suicide May 6 at the Marion County Jail and had been on life support, but “his health has very much improved, and he is now in the custody of the US Marshal,” Tim Horty, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office, said on Tuesday.

Horty declined comment on the raid at Fogle’s home.

Subway said in a statement: “We are shocked about the news and believe it is related to a prior investigation of a former Jared Foundation employee. We are very concerned and will be monitoring the situation closely.”