Since 1984, John Schnatter has taken Papa John’s from a business that started in a closet to an international success. The company currently grosses more than $1 billion in annual sales and has over 4,700 stores – 3,500 in the U.S. and over 1,200 in almost 40 countries worldwide.
On Wednesday, Schnatter formally resigned from the company he founded. He admitted is own culpability in making a racial slur during a company call that was designed to help him and his business become more racially sensitive.
According to USA Today, the company will appoint a new chairman in “the coming weeks,” after Schnatter used the N-word on a call with a public relations firm. The firm has since terminated its contract with Papa John’s
Not long after Schnatter had made the racial slur, he released a statement admitting his own fault and apologizing for its usage.
"News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true," Schnatter said.
"Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society,” he added.
Schnatter also resigned from the University of Louisville board. The backlash continued from there.
The mayor of Jeffersonville, Indiana, where Schnatter is from and where he started Papa John’s, had his name removed from a historic fieldhouse, which Schnatter had donated $800K for its restoration. The fieldhouse was named after Schnatter following his donation.
According to sources, Schnatter was asked by the public relations firm to help him think through responses in given scenarios about racial issues. Asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online, Schnatter was quoted as saying that Colonel Harland Sanders had referred to blacks using the [derogatory]-word, but the Kentucky Fried Chicken founder never faced a backlash. He made other derogatory comments as well.
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