Papa John's founder calls resignation a 'mistake'

Marco Green
July 17, 2018

Papa John's founder said "it was a mistake" to step down as chairman.

The break with the company he founded is the latest in a series of setbacks for Schnatter after he admitted last week to using a racial slur during a business call. He has since stepped down from the University of Louisville's Board of Trustees after the area NAACP branch called for him to be removed, the Washington Post reports.

Laundry Service representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Papa John's global founder John Schnatter told the pizza company's other board members on Saturday that he regretted stepping down as the company's chairman last week, saying he gave into pressure without a fair investigation the facts surrounding his admitted use of racial language on a private conference call in May. "I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so", he said in a letter to the directors, reported on by the Wall Street Journal.

During the May conference call, Schnatter attempted to downplay his public criticism of the NFL's handling of player national anthem protests, arguing that KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders had "called black people [the N-word]" without facing a public outcry.

He told a local station in Louisville on Friday that he was goaded into using the slur during the conference call. Kanye West, the African-American recording artist, is barred from marketing because he uses the N-word in his music; John Schnatter, a Caucasian billionaire, should be able to maintain his position at the company because he didn't use the word as a "racial epithet".

Schnatter will be forced to vacate the premises after the committee directed the company "to terminate a sublease agreement" that granted the 56-year old executive the right to use certain office space.

He said one their attorneys threatened "a smear campaign" if Papa John's didn't pay up.

Schnatter took the high road and waited until he lost his job to allege blackmail. If Schnatter had brought up these allegations while he was CEO, then he is just another billionaire CEO picking on the little guy. But just like a gift to the audience during an airing of Oprah, the issue has emerged. So-and-so used the n-word, and we don't use the n-word, and we're not gonna use the n-word.

The world will know soon enough.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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