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John Schnatter Resigned As Papa John's Chairman After Using N-Word On Conference Call

Papa John's at the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: John H. Schnatter, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Papa John's International, Inc. rings the NASDAQ Opening Bell at NASDAQ MarketSite on January 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)

Papa John's took another step to distance itself from its eponymous founder John Schnatter after his latest incident. On Wednesday, Forbesreported that Schnatter had used the n-word during a conference call in May.

The call was intended as public relations training for Schnatter, who stepped down as CEO after he made questionable comments about NFL players' national anthem protests. He accused the league of having poor leadership in light of dwindling ratings, which some blamed on the protests.

He later apologized, and stayed on as chairman of the board, despite stepping down as CEO. Today, he is out in that regard as well.

From CNBC:

Papa John's said in a statement late Wednesday night that it will appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks. Olivia Kirtley, the board's lead independent director, will run the board until a permanent replacement is found, it added.


The conference call in May came to light after Forbes magazine detailed the incident in an article Wednesday. The report, which was later confirmed by Schnatter, said he was on a call with marketing agency Laundry Service when he tried to downplay comments he made about the National Football League last fall by saying, “Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s" and never faced any public backlash at KFC."

John Schnatter once again apologized for his comments, after confirming that they were made to Forbes.

“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true," Schnatter said Wednesday in a statement released by Papa John's. "Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Schnatter also stepped down as a member of the University of Louisville board of trustees. The school's football stadium, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, is named after the company.