The fall of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is now complete.
It was only a year ago that Papa John’s was the official pizza partner of the National Football League and Schattner was a well-respected figure but all of that changed once the CEO allowed himself to be sucked into the maelstrom of the divisive SJW protests that have roiled the league, offended millions of fans and transformed a mangy borderline backup quarterback into an exalted symbol of the anti-Trump resistance.
He had painstakingly built Papa John’s into an empire so formidable that the company became the official pizza partner of the NFL. Life was good for the pizza king who lorded it over established competitors like Dominoes and Pizza Hut despite what many thought was an inferior product.
But it all changed in early November when Schattner used a conference call to tear into his NFL partners, blaming falling sales on the controversial national anthem protests.
Schattner emphatically stated that “the NFL has hurt us” and “we are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”
On Wednesday, Schattner resigned under pressure after media reports that he had invoked the dreaded “N-word” during a conference call in the context that “Colonel Sanders called blacks n***ers” and never was subjected to the intense backlash that is a part of daily life in the era of outrage.
The comments were made two months ago but received national coverage after a Forbes magazine report that led to Schattner’s act of seppuku of resigning as the company’s chairman.
He had already stepped down as CEO late last year due to blowback from his criticism of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s handling of the kneelers and fist-thrusters that he claimed had cost Papa John’s dearly in terms of lost business.
PAPA JOHN'S shares skid after report founder used N-word… https://t.co/Lih8nEhxYD
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) July 11, 2018
The founder and former CEO of Papa John’s issued an apology on Wednesday for using a racial slur during a conference call in May.
“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” John Schnatter said in a statement reported by CNN.
“Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”
Forbes first reported on Wednesday that Schnatter, who has remained the face of Papa John’s after stepping down as CEO in December, had said the N-word in May while taking part in an exercise on handling public relations.
— Forbes (@Forbes) July 11, 2018
According to the Forbes article, “Papa John’s Founder Used N-Word On Conference Call”:
The call was arranged between Papa John’s executives and marketing agency Laundry Service. It was designed as a role-playing exercise for Schnatter in an effort to prevent future public-relations snafus. Schnatter caused an uproar in November 2017 when he waded into the debate over national anthem protests in the NFL and partly blamed the league for slowing sales at Papa John’s.
On the May call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online. He responded by downplaying the significance of his NFL statement. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” Schnatter said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash.
Schnatter also reflected on his early life in Indiana, where, he said, people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died. He apparently intended for the remarks to convey his antipathy to racism, but multiple individuals on the call found them to be offensive, a source familiar with the matter said. After learning about the incident, Laundry Service owner Casey Wasserman moved to terminate the company’s contract with Papa John’s.
In an emailed statement on Wednesday afternoon, Schnatter confirmed the allegations. “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” he said. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”
Even though the context of his comments is not completely clear as they came during a discussion on racism, all that it took was dropping the N-bomb because the knives were already out for Schattner as a result of his spat with the NFL.
Schattner learned the hard way that those conference calls can be killers because you never know who’s listening.
Papa John’s and the NFL severed their ties earlier this year and Pizza Hut is now the league’s pizza partner.
There will likely soon be calls for Papa John’s employees to be subjected to the same “unconscious bias” brainwashing that was forced on Starbucks workers after the racial firestorm over a manager calling the cops on two loiterers of color in April.