Papa John's founder quits company after using racial slur on call

Papa John's International Rings the NASDAQ Opening Bell
John Schnatter (pictured) quits Papa John's in race storm (Source: Getty)

The eponymous founder of pizza chain Papa John’s quit the company last night after reports that he had used a racial slur during a conference call in May.

John Schnatter, the founder of the chain which has more than 250 stores in the UK, resigned as chair last night.

Forbes had reported earlier in the day that Schnatter had made offensive remarks and used the N-word during a conference call with marketing agency Laundry Service in May.

The call followed an earlier outcry in November after Schnatter had criticised protests from National Football League (NFL) players in remarks that were seized on by white supremacists.

Schnatter stepped down as chief executive following the earlier controversy and the latest call was designed to help ensure he would not make any future public relations gaffes.

According to Forbes, Schnatter was asked during the call how he would distance himself from racist groups.

He responded by trying to downplay his remarks about the NFL saying: “Colonel Sanders [founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken] called blacks n-----s,” and insisting that Sanders never faced public outcry.

In a statement to Forbes Schnatter said: “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 apologise. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society."

In a statement Papa John’s said it had accepted Schnatter’s resignation as chair and would appoint a new chair in the coming weeks.

Shares in the company are down 29 per cent since Schnatter’s November remarks. Yesterday shares fell nearly five per cent.

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