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

4 days 17 hours 33 minutes 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
WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States is open to holding direct talks with the Taliban to encourage negotiations between the... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 4:30:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) - A 29-year-old gun-rights activist served as a covert Russian agent while living in Washington, gathering intelligence on... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 4:14:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – City council approved two public hearings in August to discuss possible increases to the property tax and sewer... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 7:46:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Former Gov. Eric Greitens' campaign spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees in his... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 7:03:27 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to rename the Columbia post office located on Walnut... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 6:51:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Family, friends and law enforcement continue to search Little Dixie Lake Conservation Area for Jerry Kinman. ... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 6:00:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's U.S. senators are standing by the intelligence community's conclusion that the Russians interfered in the... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 5:10:30 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A man who was fatally shot after wounding three Kansas City police officers during a gunfight... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 3:30:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY - A group responsible for ballot petition advocating major reform in Jefferson City said they are almost positive... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 3:19:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A dialogue that began in October 2017 among the East Campus community could finally have an answer Monday.... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 2:10:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Bidders have spent nearly $80,000 for baseball memorabilia a former Kansas City Royals second baseman put... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 1:51:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
(CNN Money) -- Adidas is racing to make its products more sustainable. The global sportswear maker said Monday that... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 1:18:32 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A common drug used to control blood pressure and help prevent heart failure was announced by the US... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 1:05:00 PM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- US President Donald Trump said Monday he holds both the United States and Russia responsible for the breakdown... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 11:08:00 AM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Work to remove several large pin oaks from Mizzou's Francis Quadrangle began Monday after a recent study showed... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 10:17:00 AM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
BEIJING (AP) — China announced it filed a World Trade Organization challenge Monday to President Donald Trump's latest tariff threat,... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 9:52:57 AM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
HELSINKI (AP) — President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin opened their long-awaited summit Monday with a wink and slouch,... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 9:37:00 AM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City man died in Iowa Saturday morning during police pursuit. A Fayette County Sheriff's... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, July 16 2018 Jul 16, 2018 Monday, July 16, 2018 8:20:00 AM CDT July 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 72°
7am 73°
8am 76°
9am 79°
10am 82°