Thursday, 22 November, 2018

Papa John's founder John Schnatter resigns as chairman after using N-word

Papa John's founder apologizes for using N-word during sensitivity training conference call Papa John's founder John Schnatter dropped a racial epithet during sensitivity training
Patty Aguilar | 12 July, 2018, 13:12

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.

During the call, sources say, Schnatter attempted to downplay his National Football League comments by noting that "Colonel Sanders [of KFC] called blacks n--s" and never faced backlash for it.

Following the Forbes article, Schnatter on Wednesday released a statement acknowledging "the use of inappropriate and hurtful language". He said, "Regardless of the context, I apologize".

Schnatter, who founded the company in 1984, resigned as chief executive in December a year ago, after drawing criticism for comments he made at the National Football League (NFL) leadership.

Schnatter also resigned from the University of Louisville board f trustees, where he served for the past two years, according to chairman J. David Grissom. His company's headquarters is there, and the University's football team plays in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

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According to Forbes, Laundry Service, the marketing agency that arranged the call, cut ties with Papa John's after the exercise. He added that the members of the board don't condone racism or "insensitive" language.

Shares of the company's stock were down 3.8 percent to $48.86 at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday following the report. According to an unidentified source, Schnatter was asked how he planned to "distance himself from racist groups" on the internet.

Following the incident, Laundry Service said it held a call with the client's chief executive officer to discuss winding down the media agency's work with the company.

The comparison to Colonel Sanders is nonsensical; the use of the "N" word (unfortunately) was rampant during the bulk of Sanders' lifetime, which began in 1890 and ended in 1980. After all, he founded the Papa John's chain right there in his hometown - and, more recently, donated $800,000 to help renovate the historic building. The alleged incident came several months after Schnatter, who is also the face and the chairman of Papa John's, stepped down as the company's CEO due to backlash over his handling of the NFL's protests against police brutality.

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