Papa John’s is removing founder from ads after he used racial slur

Heather Diaz
July 14, 2018

Schnatter remains on the board and is still the company's largest shareholder with almost 30 per cent of the stock.

Really good, it turns out, because Schnatter stepped down as Papa John's chairman this week after using a racial slur in a conference call.

Schnatter, who was already drowning in bad PR for suggesting past year that National Football League anthem protests were hurting pizza sales, arranged last spring's conference call to strategize ways to avoid bad PR. Schnatter resigned as the chairman of the board of his company on Wednesday. The university's president said the school will evaluate the naming arrangement for Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, but noted that the matter involved contractual agreements, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Papa John's has acknowledged in regulatory filings that Schnatter's role as its pitchman could be a liability if his reputation was damaged.

While Papa John's was once ubiquitous with the sports world, it's partnerships have fallen off over the past few months due to Schnatter's actions.

Two current Louisville football players and one future Cardinal used their social media platforms to react to the recent news surrounding surrounding John Schnatter.

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The deal provides that if he leaves the company, Schnatter can rename the building. The University of Louisville also said Wednesday that Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees, effective immediately. While the comments were seemingly meant to denounce racism, several people on the call said they were offended by them, Forbes reported.

The university's president, Neeli Bendapudi, said she informed both Schnatter, 56, and Papa John's worldwide of the unilateral decision to end their relationship.

Target Field has announced it will "indefinitely suspend" the sale of Papa John's pizza following comments made by the company's former CEO, according to a Minnesota Twins spokesperson.

"The Marlins are committed to an inclusive environment for all of our fans", the Marlins said in their brief statement announcing the suspension of Papa John's-related activities. The resignation came hours after Schnatter apologized for using a racial slur during a conference call in May. Several people told Friedland how inappropriate and hurtful his use of the word was. Their statement condemned Schnatter, but noted that the Astros "are proud of our 10-year partnership with Houston Pizza Venture, a local Houston business and owner of the local franchisees".

The company can not afford to alienate customers, with sales already under pressure from rivals such as Domino's.

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