Papa John’s dropping key ingredient from its ads: founder John Schnatter

Kristopher Nichols
July 14, 2018

- More bad news for Papa John's after reports founder John Schnatter used a racial slur.

Schnatter submitted his resignation Wednesday as a member of the university's board of trustees after Louisville National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called for Schnatter to either step down or be removed from the board, according to the Courier-Journal.

When the news of the call broke this week, shares in the pizza chain plummeted by 5.9 per cent, wiping $96.2million off its market value, and Schnatter announced he would resign as chairman.

When discussing how he would distance himself from racist groups, Mr Schnatter said that Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, had never faced criticism for using the N-word, Forbes reported. Papa John's is now scrubbing Schnatter's image from its packaging and marketing materials.

"Regardless of the context, I apologize", the statement said.

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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. Papa John's ended its official sponsorship of the National Football League in February 2018.

Schnatter used the offensive term while undergoing training on how to avoid future PR disasters with media agency Laundry Service, after he past year controversially blamed NFL national anthem protests for his company's sagging pizza sales. Oh, no, it was the "derogatory and insensitive comments" - the fact that he said one particular no-no word.

"When we started working with the University of Kentucky to create the John H. Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise in 2015, our focus was, and remains to this day, the students, who benefit from understanding the role free markets play in the economy and society". Schnatter subsequently issued a statement acknowledging the use of "inappropriate and hurtful" language.

Schnatter then resigned as chairman of the company and from his seat on the University of Louisville's governing board. The NFL announced it was ending a partnership with the company earlier this year. Today, it has more than 3,400 locations in North America.

Papa John's is the world's third-largest pizza chain, with more than 350 outlets in the United Kingdom and 4,900 restaurants worldwide. 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".

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