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

Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter attends a meeting in Louisville Ky. Schnatter who appears on the chain's commercials and pizza boxes will leave the CEO role in January 2018 weeks after

Papa John's founder John Schnatter resigned from the company for using a racial slur.

Schnatter, for his part, confirmed the incident to Forbes on Wednesday.

In a company-released statement, Schnatter acknowledged that he made the "inappropriate and hurtful" remarks, going on to apologize for his actions "regardless of the context". "Simply stated, racism has no place in our society", he said in a statement, per CNN Money.

Schnatter resigned from the University of Louisville Board of Trustees after the local branch of the NAACP called on him to be removed.

J. David Grissom, the chairman of the board of trustees, said that he had spoken to Schnatter on Wednesday.

"Papa John's will appoint a new Chairman of the Board in coming weeks", the company said.

Schnatter reportedly told those on the phone that Colonel Sanders - the founder of KFC - used to called black people the n-word and he didn't get public backlash.

The PR agency says it was not on the call with Papa John's and the chain's then-agency, Laundry Service, during which Schnatter used the racial slur.

The University of Louisville said it doesn't condone racism. but added it doesn't think Schnatter's comments "reflect his personal beliefs or values". Schnatter hired the agency after he criticized NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Papa John's stock is down about 13.5 percent year-to-date. On Wednesday, he resigned as chairman of Papa John's after he admitted and apologized for using the n-word during a conference call.

The company's shares, which had fallen almost 5 percent Wednesday, rebounded 11 percent Thursday after the company announced Schnatter's departure.

Laundry Service chose to cut ties after Schnatter's behaviour on the call, according to Forbes. It said the company would end its work with an unnamed client due to "the regrettable recent events that several employees of Laundry Service witnessed during interactions with a client's executive".

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. In February, the National Football League dropped Papa John's as its official pizza.

Papa John's is the third largest pizza chain in the United States by sales, trailing Domino's and Pizza Hut.



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