To say things have not been going well for Papa John’s seems like an understatement. It all started towards the end of last year, when the pizza chain’s then-CEO John Schnatter blamed slumping sales on the NFL protests against police brutality and racial injustice in this country, a move that scored him fans in the alt-right (Papa John’s was the official NFL pizza sponsor until February of this year.) Schnatter then stepped down as the company's CEO, but remained the head of the board and the public face of the company.
Earlier this week, Schnatter used the n-word in a conference call orchestrated by a PR company designed to prevent future PR screw-ups. After consequently resigning as chairman of the board, the Associated Press reports that Papa John’s will also stop using Schnatter’s face in logos and ads.
Schnatter’s face has been central to the Papa John’s brand since its inception. Not only is he featured in many TV commercials, but his face is emblazoned on pizza boxes and at the center of the logo.
AP reports that Schnatter’s face had been removed from some marketing materials as early as Friday morning, even though the company says all further details are still being worked out. The company has no plans to change its name. In addition, Schnatter will keep his shares in the company and remain the largest shareholder with 30 percent of the pizza chain’s stock.
This isn't the only consequence of Schnatter’s racist remarks. The company had a strong relationship with the University of Louisville, but on Wednesday, the university announced Schnatter had resigned from its board of trustees and it would consider re-naming its Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.