Papa John’s founder: Stepping down as chairman a "mistake"

Roman Schwartz
July 18, 2018

The letters from Schnatter and his attorney were first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

Schnatter's image will be removed from marketing materials as well because of his action.

Papa John's worldwide has made a decision to end a lease agreement with John Schnatter, the founder and public face of the pizza chain.

Schnatter is "confident that an examination of the facts will bear out what I have written in this letter", and that it will "show that once again our company has demonstrated that it does not know how to handle a crisis based on misinformation".

In an interview with WLKY, Schnatter alleged that he was contacted by Laundry Service about two weeks after the media training and told there was an "issue".

Papa John's founder John Schnatter defends himself against charges of racism in a letter he sent to the board Saturday.

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Schnatter said the discussion only started when he objected to the agency's suggestion of hiring rapper Kanye West as brand spokesman because West "uses the "N" word in his lyrics". Schnatter said the agency requested $6 million "because they claimed some of their people had been offended by what I had said", he wrote.

The Sunday press release also said that the "company has specifically requested that Mr. Schnatter cease all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees". "Unfortunately, the company gave in to this extortion attempt and offered them $2.5 million or roughly $1.2 million more than they were owed". So, yeah they tried to extort us and we held firm.

Neither Laundry Service or Papa John's have publicly commented on his allegations. Last November, he blamed faltering sales at the pizza chain, which was an official National Football League sponsor, on National Football League players peacefully protesting against racial injustice in the US. At the time Schnatter said the controversy was hurting pizza sales.

Schnatter, who founded the pizza company in 1984, uttered the slur after he reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders of KFC never received public backlash for his racist remarks.

The revelation of the N-word comments forced him to step down as chairman.

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