Papa John’s founder resigns over racist slur during conference call

Papa John’s founder resigns over racist slur during conference call

Papa John’s founder resigns over racist slur during conference call

Papa John's founder John Schnatter allegedly used the N-word on a conference call as he was undergoing training on how to avoid possible PR blunders in the future.

Schnatter, who is also the public face of the company, gained notoriety last November after blaming a downward turn in pizza sales on the National Football League anthem protests.

When it happened, he was being asked how he would distance himself from racist groups.

He also allegedly stated that, in his home state of in, "people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died", reportedly intending for the sentiment to convey his opposition 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.

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"Regardless of the context, I apologize", he said in his statement confirming the report. "Simply stated, racism has no place in our society", he said.

The pizza chain saw its shares fall as much as 5.9 percent on Wednesday as the reports about Schnatter emerged.

Following news that Papa John's founder John Schnatter said the N-word during a conference call, Schnatter has resigned from the restaurant franchise company. Schnatter was eventually forced to step down as CEO, but he remained chairman of the board and the face of the brand.

Schnatter, 56, also resigned from his position on the University of Louisville's board of trustees, effective immediately, according to the school.

Representatives of the outside marketing firm, Laundry Service, declined to comment on the incident.

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The furor over the use of the slur was already costing the pizza chain, heavily involved with the major-league sports leagues, before the late-night announcement.

According to Forbes, the call involved a role-playing exercise that was supposed to give Mr Schnatter experience in dealing with hard issues.

Schnatter has a history of making political statements that have sparked controversy.

Yum Brands Inc.'s Pizza Hut replaced Papa John's as NFL's sponsor in February, ending Papa John's eight-year relationship with the top USA football league.

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