Skip to main content

Papa John's Founder Allegedly Used The N-Word During A 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)

It hasn't been the best year for Papa John's or its founder John Schnatter. Back in November, Schnatter got involved in the NFL's national anthem debate - implying that the uproar had affected his company's sales. In February, his pizza was no longer the official pizza of the NFL - and Pizza Hut swooped in.

Now, Schnatter might have another public relations crisis to deal with. Schnatter, according to Forbes, used the n-word on a conference call this past May.

The call, which reportedly came with a company called Laundry Service, was actually meant to be training on how to prevent public relations issues - like the one he dealt with regarding the NFL - in the future. Ironically, it's now causing a public relations issue.

Schnatter reportedly told those on the phone that Colonel Sanders - the founder of KFC - used to called black people the n-word and he didn't get public backlash. He also allegedly made some weird reference to how he grew up in Indiana.

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 allegedly 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, the source said.

Forbes reports that Papa John's, in a statement, did not dispute any of the reporting.