Papa John's Founder Resigns As Chairman Amid Backlash For Saying 'N****rs' On Conference Call

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 12, 2014: "Papa" John Schnatter, founder and CEO of "Papa John's Pizza" takes part in a radio show prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on October 12, 2014 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 31-10. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** "Papa" John Schnatter

Papa John's Founder Resigns As Chairman Amid Backlash For Saying 'N****rs' On Conference Call

John Schnatter also stepped down from the board of trustees for the University of Louisville, and MLB suspended promotion of the pizza chain.

Published July 11, 2018


John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John’s Pizza, resigned as chairman of the board of Papa John’s International amid backlash he received for saying “n****rs” during a conference call in May.

On Wednesday, Schnatter issued an apology for saying the word during a conference call about how the company can avoid negative press. Later that day, Schnatter submitted his resignation to the company’s independent directors, who will work to find a replacement chairman in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Schnatter will remain on Papa John’s board, reported New York Times.

Additionally, Schnatter, 56, also resigned from the board of trustees for the University of Louisville, the school confirmed.

MLB also made a quick decision to suspend all promotions for Papa John’s until further notice. Major League Baseball had a Papa Slam promotion, which provided discounts to Papa John’s customers each time a player hit a grand slam.

In Schnatter’s hometown, Jeffersonville, Ind., the mayor stripped a local gym of his name.

“I made the decision yesterday at 4 p.m., sign was removed at 4:30,” Mike Moore, the mayor, in an email to the Times. “John’s comments are not acceptable and I will not allow a building in the city of Jeffersonville to honor his name.”


John Schnatter, who in a simpler time was able to parade around as America’s favorite pizza loving papa, is under fire for using the word “n****r” during a press conference about how to avoid bad PR.

According to Forbes, Schnatter was involved in a call between executives of the Papa John’s Pizza and the marketing agency Laundry Service. The call was meant to facilitate public relations strategies to avoid coming off as a racist, which Schnatter desperately needed after his criticism of kneeling NFL players got him uplifted by white supremacists and booted as the company’s CEO.

As a result, Schnatter used the May conference call to basically say that what he said was not as bad as it could have been.

 “Colonel Sanders called Blacks n*****s,” Schnatter said, according to Forbes.

Apparently, Schnatter was reportedly complaining that the KFC founder wasn't subjected to the same criticism that he was when he spoke out against the players.

Schnatter then went on to describe his early life in Indiana, a place, he said, where Black people used to be dragged from trucks until they died. He somehow thought these descriptions would show his aversion to racism.

According to Forbes, "multiple individuals on the call" were offended by the description and Laundry Service owner Casey Wasserman reportedly "moved to terminate" their contract with Papa John’s after hearing about Schnatter's comment.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Schnatter confirmed he'd used the n-word and offered an apology.

“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true," read Schnatter’s statement. "Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”

A spokesperson for the pizza chain said the company "condemns racism and any insensitive language, no matter the situation or setting."

"Our company was built on a foundation of mutual respect and acceptance. One of our core company values is People Are Priority Always (P.A.P.A.) and we are committed to maintaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace for all of our corporate and franchise employees," said the spokesperson.

Although Schnatter apologized, the Trump supporting, anti-Obama pizza man was dragged on Twitter.

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)


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