Papa John's Chairman Resigns After Racist Comments Revealed

Following today's much publicized report that just a few months after Papa John founder and Chairman John Schnatter quit the CEO last November for “divisive” remarks when he criticized the NFL for its handling of players’ national-anthem protests, saying it hurt the pizza chain’s sales, he used the N-word and graphic descriptions of violence against minorities on a conference call, moments ago the company announced that that the company had accepted Schantter's resignation.

Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA)today announced that the independent directors of the company have accepted the resignation of John H. Schnatter as Chairman of the Board. Olivia Kirtley acts as the company’s Lead Independent Director. Papa John’s will appoint a new Chairman of the Board in the coming weeks.

As a reminder, earlier on Wednesday, Forbes reported that during a May marketing 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.

Following publication of the comments, Schnatter issued a statement in which he apologized:

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

By then it was too late.

Needless to say, the revelation of these comments shocked investors, and following the pounding PZZA stock took today which dropped as much as 5.9%, coupled with various analysts warning that this particular scandal could last a considerable period of time, the resignation is hardly surprising.

* * *

Earlier:

Shares of Papa John's tumbled on Wednesday to $47.80, the lowest price since February 2016, after after outspoken chairman and founder John Schnatter came under fire following a report from Forbes that he used the N-word and graphic descriptions of violence against minorities on a conference call in May designed by marketing agency Laundry Service as a role-playing exercise for Schnatter in an effort to prevent future public-relations snafus."

Following the conference call incident, Laundry Service cut ties with Papa John's - telling staff in a May 31 letter that it was ending its work with an unnamed client thanks to "the regrettable recent events that several employees of Laundry Service witnessed during interactions with a client’s executive," according to a copy of the letter obtained by Bloomberg.

Papa John chairman and founder John Schnatter

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. After learning about the incident, Laundry Service owner Casey Wasserman moved to terminate the company’s contract with Papa John’s. -Forbes

Shares of the pizza chain have tumbled 25% since Schnatter waded into the debate over national anthem protests and made several inflammatory comments against the NFL; the slide continued today with PZZA dropping as much as 5.9%, sliding to the lowest level since February 2016.

Papa John's did not dispute Forbes' report on Wednesday, however they noted that "Papa John’s condemns racism and any insensitive language, no matter the situation or setting. ... We take great pride in the diversity of the Papa John’s family, though diversity and inclusion is an area we will continue to strive to do better."

As Bloomberg adds, the company's new CEO, Steve Ritchie, who replaced Schnatter in January, sent an internal memo to team members, franchisees and operators on Wednesday addressing the event, though without mentioning Schnatter by name.

“You may have read the media reports today tied to our company culture. We want to make it clear to all of you that racism has no place at Papa John’s,” according to the memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

“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,” Ritchie said. “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.” -Bloomberg

The 56-year-old Schnatter founded Papa John's in Jeffersonville, Indiana after he installed a pizza oven at his father's tavern. The business eventually grew to over 5,000 locations with annual revenues north of $1.7 billion. 

Following the NFL anthem controversy, Schnatter stepped down as CEO when during the company's third-quarter conference call he blamed the league for slow sales. The company later apologized for the “divisive” comments. 

Comments

Dindu Nuffins D503 Wed, 07/11/2018 - 23:38 Permalink

Here's a case of real terrorism in America, and no amount of TSA agents grabbing our crotches and doling out body cavity searches will keep us safe from these real terrorists that run everything in our captive society and keep us afraid of saying anything but the blandest small talk.

In reply to by D503

MoreSun JSBach1 Thu, 07/12/2018 - 01:29 Permalink

Yes Bach, the epitome of racism-the jew supremacists the creators of terrorism also, that's what (((they))) claim.

Meanwhile this is not being reported: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cnWiGZsUMo&t=21s

The jew supremacists created, funded and staffed the Naacp. For the first 50 years the Naacp had no black CEO. They finally installed a token black to keep the propaganda going. Their sole purpose is to divide through hate mongering tactics on both sides.

The jew supremacists use the Naacp as well as Zoa, Adl, Splc, Jwc, Aclu, Jdl, and a thousand more jew supremacist foreign agent organizations to divide and conquer this Republic and turn it into a third world jew supremacist controlled hellhole.

In reply to by JSBach1

glenlloyd MoreSun Thu, 07/12/2018 - 01:54 Permalink

You know people are getting far too offended far too easily.

Back in the day we would call a reaction like what's happened here to be "thin skinned."

No one ever said there wouldn't be things said that people don't like but in this case based on what's written here it seems like it was taken out of context. We really don't know what he meant by the remark about dragging behind a truck. Also apparently no one tried to clarify that either but they did virtue signal their outrage. Being offended is something we have to learn to accept every day, you just let it roll off your back, remember, words can't hurt you.

Thing I think is funny is that it's now apparently ok to be racist against whites and think nothing of it. I see BLM signs in front yards and the first thing I think is what about my life? If anything all lives matter, not just the black ones.

In reply to by MoreSun

Kidbuck I hate cunton Thu, 07/12/2018 - 04:25 Permalink

Yeah, they're insults. But if the Niggers, Chinks, Wops, Kikes, Crackers, etc., etc. can't stand a few relatively mild insults it just proves that the shoe fits. Their snivelling proves their stupidity, weakness, and overall inferiority.  That is, it proves they deserve to be insulted.

In reply to by I hate cunton

zimboe dietrolldietroll Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:53 Permalink

NIGGER.

there, now fire me.

Owait, they sold all my jobs to third-world mutts working for starvation wages in the name of holy profit.

Haven't worked in years, gonna die poor.

***

"Joseph of Alamathea, you are sentenced to death by stoning for uttering the name OF OUR GOD!"

    "But all I said was, 'this piece of halibut is too good for a  nigger!'"

 "ARRRGH! You're only making it worse for yourself!!!"

"Worse? How could it be worse?

(Dancing) NIGGER! NIGGER! NIGGER! NIGGER! *thud*"

"ALLRIGHT, WHO THREW THAT?!

***

Whitey isn't allowed to say the all-powerful secret Black POWER WORD!

Cuz it's HERESY! HERESY! HERESY!

 

You niggers make me sick.

-David Duke, 1986

In reply to by dietrolldietroll

wisehiney Wed, 07/11/2018 - 23:22 Permalink

All good if pizza's good.

Yankee.

If yo papa john ass driver survives the coyotes.

I shall tip him/her/it real good.

Bring that cheezy ass cardboard on out here.

 

tahoebumsmith Wed, 07/11/2018 - 23:27 Permalink

I like Colonel Sanders and so do Black people, I don’t see what the big deal is. Oh that’s right now we have Big Al and the BLM can’t even talk about chicken anymore without being called a racist.

And the more I think about it Colonel Sanders has probably put more smiles on Black Peoples faces then anyone ever on the planet