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

2 months 2 weeks 22 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
COLUMBIA - Local non-profit group Resident Arts and Columbia's Office of Cultural Affairs will hold a final public meeting Wednesday... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, September 26 2018 Sep 26, 2018 Wednesday, September 26, 2018 5:33:00 AM CDT September 26, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A quirk in the mail delivery system that forced some rural Missouri residents living along the... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, September 26 2018 Sep 26, 2018 Wednesday, September 26, 2018 5:16:15 AM CDT September 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Community Land Trust is meeting in hopes to add more low-income housing to Columbia in the near-future.... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 7:33:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - After cross examination Tuesday, the defense in the Missouri Voter ID trial presented their first witness in... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 7:08:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Hundreds of students registered to vote on the University of Missouri campus Tuesday. The Associated Students of... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 6:13:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
CANTON, MA (CNN) - Starting in January, Dunkin' Donuts will drop the "Donuts" from ads, packages and signage at new... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 5:39:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A police officer hurt his leg while trying to stop a man he caught breaking into a... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 5:31:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Screenshots of text messages show former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' staff used a message-deleting app on... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 4:33:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Taxes on Chinese imported goods could make home building and renovating more expensive. According to CNBC ,... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:44:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY - A tri-state drug deal operation led to a murder in Miller County in June, according to the... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:09:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A historic building in Jefferson City continues to collapse, with another piece breaking off Monday morning. ... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 2:42:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The plaintiff in the Missouri voter ID case presented a witness and expert Tuesday who said the... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 2:25:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A teenager pleaded guilty in connection with a 2016 homicide on Claudell Lane, but prosecutors dropped a murder... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 11:52:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
CHILICOTHE - A Holts Summit woman convicted of murdering her husband died in prison, according to an obituary published by... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 11:36:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump stepped up to the iconic dais at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday on... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 11:17:14 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says state tax credits for low-income housing won't be issued until... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 10:36:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Matthias Katsch says he was 13 years old when a priest at his Jesuit school in Berlin first... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 10:29:43 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
MARIES COUNTY - A K-9 unit found a large amount of drugs in a truck caught speeding in Vichy, the... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 9:35:00 AM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 52°
9am 55°
10am 57°
11am 60°
12pm 63°