Papa John’s Founder Vows to Fight Accusations of Racism, Hires Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyer

Schnatter and Weinstein
The Associated Press

Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, is vowing to fight charges of racism and has hired Harvey Weinstein lawyer Patricia Glaser to prevent his removal from the pizza chain he founded.

The Los Angeles trial lawyer was hired Saturday, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.

It was reported that the pizza company is beginning the task of removing its founder’s image from all advertising materials, and on July 8 Schnatter also stepped down as chairman of the company, removing himself from day-to-day operations. But, Schnatter still has a place on the board and owns about 30 percent of the company’s stock shares.

Schnatter has also faced fallout in other areas. In one case, Schnatter’s name was also removed from the University of Louisville’s football stadium. And his hometown of Jefferson, Indiana, also removed his name from a basketball gym and pulled his photo from the city’s Wall of Fame.

However, now the famed pizza man has decided it was a mistake to step down as chairman of his company and wants to fight his removal.

“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 wrote in a letter he sent to the company board of directors. “I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted.”

Schnatter maintains that when he used the n-word on a conference call during a training session, it was used in a technical sense, not used as a racial epithet.

“I then 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,” Schnatter said in his letter.

“Let me be very clear: I never used the ‘N’ word in that meeting as a racial epithet, nor would I ever,” he said.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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