Papa John's founder John Schnatter resigns as chairman over N-word controversy

12 July, 2018, 13:12 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Papa John's founder apologizes for using N-word

The resignation ends a day which began with a story from Forbes in which Schnatter was said to have used the N-word on a call with a public relations firm that was created to help the company avoid more public relations issues.

Schnatter was on a call with marketing agency Laundry Service when he tried to downplay comments he made about the National Football League and allegedly said, "Colonel Sanders called blacks n--s", and complained that the KFC founder never faced public backlash.

"Regardless of the context, I apologize", he said, according to CNBC.

Mr Schnatter caused controversy in November 2017 after claiming the outcry surrounding NFL players' decision to kneel during the national anthem was hampering sales growth at Papa John's, an NFL sponsor and advertiser.

Schnatter resigned from the University's Board of Trustees Wednesday hours after the NAACP called for him to step down. on the heels of Schnatter confirming reports he dropped the racial epithet back in May. The chairman, J. David Grissom, said: "After speaking with John, I'm confident that his comments, while inappropriate, do not reflect his personal beliefs or values".

Papa John's will appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks.


Papa John's released a statement to WDRB following the Forbes article, stating it "condemns racism and any insensitive language", but it did not deny the quote attributed to Schnatter in the Forbes article.

The call, which was between Schnatter and executives from the marketing agency Laundry Service, was reportedly a role-playing session aimed at preventing future Schnatter-related PR disasters.

Schnatter, 56, stepped down as Papa John's CEO in January. Laundry Service also broke off its relationship with the company. Multiple people on the call were offended by these remarks, although the troubling memories were apparently brought up by Schnatter to demonstrate how anti-racist he is.

The rift between Schnatter and Jurich led to Schnatter resigning his seat on the U of L Athletics Association, the athletics governing board. In a complicated arrangement, the school's deal is with Schnatter himself, not the Papa John's brand, and provides that if he leaves the company, Schnatter can rename the building.

According to Yahoo Sports, Major League Baseball indefinitely suspended its Papa Slam promotion in which the league dubbed each Grand Slam a "Papa Slam" and let baseball fans use an online code to get 40 percent off a Papa John's order the next day.

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