Papa John's founder John Schnatter is donating $1 million to the historically black college, Simmons College of Kentucky.
"John is making and will continue to make an important difference," Rev. Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College of Kentucky, said in a statement, per the Louisville Courier-Journal. "His support will have a profound impact on Simmons’ capacity to serve our city, state and nation."
"It's been a pleasure to work with Dr. Cosby and Dr. Tolbert to learn about the important work they are doing in our community," Schnatter said in a statement of his own. "I’m proud to support their efforts to help lift up those who want to better their own lives and the lives of those around them."
Since neither one of these statements wants to address the elephant in the room, we will go ahead and do it. Schnatter's donation is seemingly his way of making amends for the time he got caught using the N-word on a conference call last year. According to a report from Forbes, Schnatter was asked, during a call with Papa John’s execs and a marketing agency, how he planned to "distance himself from racist groups" on the Internet when he made the career-altering remark.
Schnatter resigned as the chairman of the board of Papa John’s International shortly thereafter. He also relinquished his position at the University of Louisville Board of Trustees amid pressure from the NAACP. Papa John’s headquarters are located in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, which explains his ties to that particular college.
Less than a week after his resignation, Schnatter appeared on Louisville radio station WHAS where he claimed that the entire interaction was taken out of context and he was pressured by the marketing agency on the call to use the slur.
"The agency was promoting that vocabulary […] And I made it real clear: 'Listen, we’re not gonna go there. We’re not gonna talk about this,'" Schnatter said. "They pushed me and it upset me, and I just said, ‘Listen, other people have used that word. I don’t, and will not use that word and people at Papa John’s don’t use that.' And that was the comment. But they actually wanted to get into that vocabulary, and I said absolutely not."