Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Papa John’s founder resigns after using racial slur during conference call

Papa John’s founder resigns after using racial slur during conference call

The pizza chain is under scrutiny after founder John Schnatter admitted to and apologized for using the N-word in a May training session, an event that became public Wednesday.

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

Schnatter stepped down as CEO of the company in December after he linked NFL players' protests during the national anthem to lower sales for the pizza company.

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.

According to Forbes, the 56-year-old also spoke about his early life in IN on the conference call, and claimed people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died.

In a statement released by Kentucky-based Papa John's, Schnatter said reports attributing use of "inappropriate and hurtful" language to him were true. A statement from board president J. David Grissom Wednesday called Schnatter's comments inappropriate, though Grissom said he didn't think they reflected Schnatter's belief system.

In a statement announcing Schnatter's resignation, Papa John's said Olivia Kirtley was acting as the companies lead independent director and that a new board chairman would be announced "in the coming weeks".

Following a call to shareholders in November, Schnatter came under fire for remarks about the NFL.

The media company working with Papa John's opted to end its business relationship with the pizza company after the call, according to Forbes.

That was the freaky situation that Papa John's found itself in last November, after neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer endorsed the pizza chain - posting a picture of a swastika pizza and declaring Papa John's the official pizza brand of the alt right.

Each one allowed baseball fans to get 40 percent off their order at Papa John's the next day by using a Papa Slam online coupon code.

The Forbes report detailed that Schnatter uttered the slur during a call in May with other Papa John's executives and the marketing agency Laundry Service, going through a role-playing exercise meant to prepare for public relations challenges.

Papa John's has once again shot itself, blowing off its metaphorical foot.

Mr Schnatter also resigned from the University of Louisville board of trustees on Wednesday following the incident.

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