Papa John's founder resigns as chairman after using N-word on conference call

8 months 1 week 6 days ago Thursday, July 12 2018 Jul 12, 2018 Thursday, July 12, 2018 12:49:00 PM CDT July 12, 2018 in Top Stories
By: Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

CNN - John Schnatter, the founder and public face of Papa John's pizza, resigned as the company's chairman hours after he apologized for using the N-word on a conference call in May.

Papa John's said in a statement late Wednesday it would appoint a new chairman "in the coming weeks."

Schnatter had apologized earlier in the day after Forbes reported that he used the racial slur while participating in a role-playing exercise designed to prevent public relations crises.

According to the account in Forbes, Schnatter was on a call with Laundry Service, a marketing agency, and was asked how he planned to manage future public relations flare-ups.

Schnatter caused controversy last year when he said that Papa John's pizza sales were hurt by the NFL's handling of players' kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of racial injustice. He stepped down as CEO two months after the comments.

On the call in May, Schnatter sought to downplay the significance of his criticism of the league and its players, Forbes reported.

"Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s," he said, complaining that Sanders had never received backlash, according to Forbes. The parent company of KFC did not immediately answer a request for comment.

Forbes also reported that Schnatter recalled growing up in Indiana, where he said people used to drag black people from their trucks until they died.

Forbes reported that Schnatter's comments were intended to demonstrate his stance against racism, but that people on the call were offended by them.

In a statement issued through the company, Schnatter said: "News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true. Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society."

Schnatter founded Papa John's in 1984. He is the public face of the company and its largest shareholder, controlling 29 percent, and appears in its ads, including one that rolled out as recently as April.

Papa John's is the third largest pizza chain in the United States by sales, trailing Domino's and Pizza Hut. It has stores in dozens of countries around the world, spanning Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The company's stock closed down 4.8 percent on Wednesday.

Laundry Service, which is owned by Wasserman Media Group, declined to comment through a spokesperson on Schnatter's remarks or the company's relationship with Papa John's. Forbes reported that Wasserman moved to end its contract with Papa John's after the call.

Schnatter also resigned Wednesday from the University of Louisville board of trustees. 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." He added that the members of the board don't condone racism or "insensitive" language.

He also thanked Schnatter for his "generous support for so many years." The University of Louisville football team plays its home games at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Papa John's was the longtime exclusive pizza sponsor of the NFL, but ended its partnership with the league earlier this year under new CEO Steve Ritchie.

More News

Grid
List
Missouri State Representative Rebecca Roeber was taken to the hospital with serious injuries Monday after a Morgan County car crash.... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 10:09:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Monday marked the first day Missourians could apply for Real IDs -- federally compliant IDs. Missouri... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 8:00:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Battle High School students are taking a new math class, and it doesn't involve just sitting in a... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 7:33:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri filed an appeals brief with the NCAA appeals committee. In the brief, Mizzou... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 6:12:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in Sports
COLUMBIA - The federal government's ban on bump stocks goes into effect Tuesday, making Monday the last day to legally... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 5:31:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Election candidates met Monday for another round of public talks, this time focusing on policies, accessibility and accommodations... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 4:22:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- State representatives gathered Monday to announce the introduction of the Missouri First Step Act later this week. ... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 3:04:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Four more people have joined the list of people suing MU Health Care doctors and the Curators of... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 2:35:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLE COUNTY - The Cole County Sheriff's Office said they seized $20,000 in illegal steroids during a traffic stop Sunday... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 1:25:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY -Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire at a business in Jefferson City. Firefighters went to... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 12:17:00 PM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Department of Revenue is now offering licenses and identifications that comply with stricter... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 10:52:00 AM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
IOWA CITY - In the Regional Finals of the Women's NCAA Tournament, the Mizzou Tigers lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes... More >>
1 day ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 12:22:10 AM CDT March 25, 2019 in Sports
MOBERLY - A woman was arrested in Moberly Saturday evening for driving while intoxicated with two children in the car,... More >>
1 day ago Monday, March 25 2019 Mar 25, 2019 Monday, March 25, 2019 12:02:00 AM CDT March 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri forward Jontay Porter re-tore his ACL Saturday while rehabbing in Colorado, Mizzou Athletics confirmed to KOMU. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 10:21:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in Sports
(CNN) -- A triumphant President Donald Trump emerged Sunday to claim "complete and total exoneration" after special counsel... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 9:02:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Law enforcement agencies are turning to social media to connect with the people they serve. Police departments, sheriff's... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 6:43:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
SALINE COUNTY - A body was recovered from the Missouri River Sunday afternoon. The Saline County Sheriff's Office said... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 4:50:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here's how to get help : In the... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 3:35:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 42°
4am 38°
5am 37°
6am 36°
7am 35°