Less than a day after his spot was blown to smithereens for using the N-word during a May conference call, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has resigned as chairman of the company’s board.
Papa John’s said in a statement late Wednesday night that it will appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks. Olivia Kirtley, the board’s lead independent director, will run the board until a permanent replacement is found, it added.
News of Schnatter’s resignation came shortly after Major League Baseball indefinitely suspended its Papa Slam promotion — a campaign that both sides have collaborated on since 2016.
The conference call in May came to light after Forbes magazine detailed the incident in an article Wednesday. The report, which was later confirmed by Schnatter, said he was on a call with marketing agency Laundry Service when he tried to downplay comments he made about the National Football League last fall by saying, “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s” and never faced any public backlash at KFC.
According to Forbes, Schnatter added that people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died. Although his comment was apparently intended to convey his distaste for racism, Forbes said multiple people on the call were offended. The call was part of media training for Schnatter to prevent future public relations fumbles.
John issued an apology saying:
News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true.
Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.
Racism has no place in our society and neither does that nasty @$$ pizza! Good riddance.
Oh, and after the report came out about John Schnatter using the N-word, Papa John’s shares surged 11 percent.