Papa John's founder reportedly used racial slur during conference call

Blanche Robertson
July 12, 2018

On Wednesday, Forbes reported that Schnatter, the founder and chairman of Papa John's pizza, used a racial slur during a conference call with a business partner in May. In the call, Schnatter sought to downplay his earlier remarks about the NFL's protests, led by African American players, allegedly saying that "Colonel Sanders called blacks n******", and never faced a public rebuke.

A media agency working with Papa John's made a decision to cut ties after Schnatter's alleged behaviour on the May call, according to Forbes.

Forbes reported he did apologize for his use of the slur to them in an emailed statement, late on Wednesday.

UPDATED 3:39 p.m. ET: John Schnatter has admitted that the report about the offensive and racist language he used on the Papa John's conference call is true.

"Regardless of the context, I apologize", he said, according to CNBC. "We want to make it clear to all of you that racism has no place at Papa John's", according to the memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

In November, Schnatter drew criticism after a call with investors in which he blamed slow sales at the company, which is an NFL advertiser, on the league's "poor" leadership over the anthem demonstrations.

Papa John's pizza founder John Schnatter has had a long history of running his mouth off and it has finally caught up to him.

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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. In his response, Forbes reported that he questioned why he was facing the wrath of society for taking a stance that all National Football League players should stand for the anthem, and he downplayed the significance of those comments. Schnatter had said that the comments were meant to show his opposition to racism, though others on the call reported being offended by the remarks.

"Papa John's condemns racism and any insensitive language, no matter the situation or setting", the company said in a statement.

"We've got a new creative agency with Laundry Service", Steve Ritchie, who took over as CEO when Schnatter stepped back in December, said on the company's February 25 earnings call.

The Papa John's store in Westminster, Colorado, U.S. August 1, 2017.

"Our company was built on a foundation of mutual respect and acceptance", the statement said.

Shares of Papa John's Pizza (PZZA) fell almost 6 percent after the report and were lately down 2.4 percent. 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.

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