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

1 week 1 day 5 hours 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
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A Steedman man was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of domestic... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 5:22:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in Continuous News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — A Missouri man has pleaded guilty in the fatal beating of his 77-year-old grandmother while he... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 3:59:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in Continuous News
(CNN) -- The FBI is in possession of a recording between President Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Michael... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 3:38:16 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY – House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty will resign from the Missouri House of Representatives effective Sunday in... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 12:57:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in Top Stories
COLE COUNTY — The Cole County Sheriff’s Department responded to possible weapons violation on Thursday night. When the officers... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 11:47:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in Top Stories
(AP) - President Donald Trump has indicated that he's willing to hit every product imported from China with tariffs and... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 8:52:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
BRANSON - A press conference was held Friday morning following Thursday's fatal boat capsizing at Table Rock Lake. As... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 7:23:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
BRANSON (AP) — The Latest on a deadly tourist boat accident in Missouri (all times local): 10:30 a.m. ... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 7:16:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
BRANSON - The recent boat incident that killed 11 and injured seven in Branson isn't the first time Ride the... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 2:06:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Thursday evening around 9:00 pm, two cars collided head-on at the intersection of Worley St. and W. Boulevard.... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 11:14:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A southern Missouri sheriff and a subordinate with whom he was having a romantic relationship have... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 10:46:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia confirmed Friday the household hazardous waste collection is cancelled. The waste collection was... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 10:16:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- More illnesses have been reported across the United States in two separate cyclospora outbreaks, federal health officials said... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 9:31:35 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Gun-rights activists have reached a settlement with the government that... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 8:57:04 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Loop CID met with the Planning and Zoning Committee Thursday night to discuss future plans for Business... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 7:46:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
DES MOINES, Iowa - Pella Regional Health Center spokeswoman Billie Rhamy confirmed Thursday evening injuries were minor and all patients... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 6:49:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in Continuous News
(CNN) - President Donald Trump hopes to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin in Washington this fall, White House press secretary... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 5:09:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Planned Parenthood advocates demonstrated a mock health care waiting room in Governor Parson's office Thursday. The... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 4:16:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 88°
7pm 89°
8pm 86°
9pm 82°
10pm 79°