Papa John’s chairman resigns after controversy over using N-word

Papa John’s, John Schnatter, said reports attributing use of “inappropriate and hurtful” racial slur to him were true.

world Updated: Jul 12, 2018 18:14 IST
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John Schnatter (right), founder and chief executive of Papa John's Pizza, during an event in Los Angeles.(Reuters File Photo)

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has resigned as chairman of the board.

The company made the announcement late Wednesday, hours after Schnatter apologised for using a racial slur during a conference call in May. Schnatter, who has appeared in TV ads for the pizza chain, still owns about 30% of the company’s shares.

Forbes reported that Schnatter used the N-word during a media training exercise. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word.

In a statement released by Louisville, Kentucky-based Papa John’s, Schnatter said reports attributing use of “inappropriate and hurtful” language to him were true.

“Regardless of the context, I apologise,” the statement says.

The University of Louisville also said Wednesday that Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees, effective immediately.

Schnatter stepped down as CEO last year after blaming slowing sales growth on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem.

As of Thursday morning, Schnatter’s image remained on Papa John’s website.

Papa John’s shares fell nearly 5 percent Wednesday after the report, closing at $48.33.

First Published: Jul 12, 2018 18:11 IST