Published On: Thu, Jul 12th, 2018

Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter resigns following RACIST outburst | World | News

Forbes reported that Mr Schnatter was on a conference call with Laundry Service, a marketing agency, and used the racially-sensitive slur while participating in a role-play exercise on how to avoid public relations crises.

In a statement released by the company, Mr 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.”

Mr Schnatter also resigned from the University of Louisville board of trustees on Wednesday following the incident.

Commenting on the outburst, the University of Louisville said: “After speaking with John, I’m confident that his comments, while inappropriate, do not reflect his personal beliefs or values.

“No member of the board of trustees condones racism or insensitive language regardless of the setting.

“John has tendered his resignation from the University of Louisville board of trustees effective immediately.

“The board appreciates his two years of service and thanks him for his generous support for so many years.”

Mr Schnatter caused controversy in November 2017 after claiming the outcry surrounding NFL players’ decision to kneel during the national anthem was hampering sales growth at Papa John’s, an NFL sponsor and advertiser.

According to Bloomberg, he said during a conference call: “The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction.”

The company also released a statement prior to Mr Schnatter’s confirmation of his racist outburst, saying: “Papa John’s condemns racism and any insensitive language, no matter the situation or setting.

“Diversity is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of providing a better product and better service to our customers and to the communities where we operate and live.

“We take great pride in the diversity of the Papa John’s family, though diversity and inclusion is an area where we will continue to strive to do better.”

CBNC also revealed an internal memo sent by CEO Steve Ritchie to staff and franchise owners.

He said: “The past six months we’ve had to take a hard look in the mirror and acknowledge that we’ve lost a bit of focus on the core values that this brand was built on and that delivered success for so many years.

“We’ve got to own up and take the hit for our missteps and refocus on the constant pursuit of better that is the DNA of our brand.”

Shares in the pizza company dropped 5.9 percent following the announcement of the news, knocking $96.2million (£73million) off the company’s market value.

Papa John’s was founded by Mr Schnatter in 1984 and he is the largest shareholder, possessing 29 percent of the company.

The company is the third largest pizza chain in the US following Domino’s and Pizza Hut.

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