Papa John’s Founder Now Calls Resignation a ‘Mistake’

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

John Schnatter said “it was a mistake” to resign after being asked to step down in the wake of a controversy about his use of a racial slur.

In a letter to the company directors dated July 14, Schnatter said that he was asked during media training whether he was racist, and answered “no.” Then, “I [said] something on the order of, Colonel Sanders used the word ‘N,’ (I actually used the word), that I would never use that word, and Papa John’s doesn’t use that word.”

“The board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so,” Schnatter said. “I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted.”

Schnatter is “confident that an examination of the facts will bear out what I have written in this letter,” and that it will “show that once again our company has demonstrated that it does not know how to handle a crisis based on misinformation.”

The pizza mogul has retained Los Angeles trial attorney Patricia Glaser, who requested that the board appoint a special committee to investigate the matter. According to an anonymous WSJ source, however, the request was made while such a committee was already being formed.

For now, the company is pushing Schnatter firmly away. He is no longer permitted to use office space in the Louisville, Kentucky headquarters, nor will he continue his role as a mainstay of their marketing efforts. His current share of the company is roughly 29%, valued at an estimated $500 million.


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