UPDATED 12:07 a.m. ET: John Schnatter has now resigned as the chairman of the board of Papa John’s International. A statement from the company says that "the independent directors of the company have accepted the resignation."
Schnatter has admitted that the report about the offensive and racist language he used on the Papa John's conference call is true.
"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," he said in a statement, per CNN Money.
According to TMZ, Schnatter also resigned from his position at the University of Louisville Board of Trustees after the NAACP urged him to. The University has said it does not support racism, and also added Schnatter's remarks don't "reflect his personal beliefs or values." Papa John's headquarters are located in Louisville, and the university's football team's stadium is named the Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Read the original story below.
Papa John’s, the mediocre-at-best pizza chain and former NFL pizza sponsor, effectively canceled itself toward the end of last year when the then-CEO, John Schnatter, blamed slumping sales on the NFL protests against police brutality and racial injustice. The ensuing backlash proved the position earned Papa John’s the worst kind of fans: the alt-right. Schnatter was eventually forced to step down as CEO, but he remained chairman of the board and the face of the brand. A new report published in Forbes claims Schnatter used the N-word on a conference call in May, suggesting he may not have learned his lesson after all.
The call, which was between Papa John’s execs and a marketing agency, was a “role-playing exercise” for Schnatter in an effort to prevent future PR screw-ups. According to an unidentified source, Schnatter was asked how he planned to "distance himself from racist groups" on the internet. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n*****s” and didn't face backlash,” he allegedly answered.
He also mentioned that, while growing up in Indiana, people would drag African-Americans from trucks until they died. Multiple people on the call were offended by these remarks, although the troubling memories were apparently brought up by Schnatter to demonstrate how anti-racist he is. The marketing agency eventually terminated their contract with Papa John’s.
Forbes reports that Papa John’s shares have declined by 25 percent since Schnatter made his initial remarks positioning his company’s profits above the spirit of the NFL protests, which are, for many black people in this country, a matter of life-or-death.
Back in November of last year, after the backlash against Schnatter’s comments had already done significant damage, the pizza company took to Twitter to apologize and assert their support for the NFL protests. They also sent an emoji of a middle finger to the “neo-Nazis” who’d snaked their way into the situation, which really showed them.
We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe together, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both. (2/3)— Papa John's Pizza (@PapaJohns) November 15, 2017
We will work with the players and league to find a positive way forward. Open to ideas from all. Except neo-nazis — 🖕those guys. (3/3)— Papa John's Pizza (@PapaJohns) November 15, 2017