Papa John's is going to extreme measures to erase all evidence founder John Schnatter ever existed from its 5,212 location pizza chain, sending detailed instructions its store owners on how to remove every shred of the former Chairman.
Store owners should remove Schnatter’s signature from the wooden paddles used to take pizzas out of the oven — and replace it with images of vegetables or cheese — and swap out window signs featuring a smiling Schnatter with online ordering signage, according to the seven-page email, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.
A total of 10 items to be removed include a wall poster of Schnatter and NFL great Peyton Manning and even signage on Papa John’s pickup trucks. -NY Post
Also to be removed are plaques hanging on the walls with Schnatter describing how their pizzas are made - replaced with photos of a dough maker with the caption "our FRESH DOUGH story."
Franchisees are told they can replace the photos of Schnatter’s beloved gold Camaro with one of two options featuring a Garden Special veggie pie or one called The Works.
“In most cases the Camaro plaque can be unscrewed and the plaque screwed back in,” the company helpfully advises.
Franchisees are instructed to remove the cutouts of Schnatter and Manning, which include a “Welcome to our Stores” banner, but are told that “there is no replacement for this item.” -NY Post
Meanwhile, the board has also enacted a poison pill which prevents Schnatter - who already owns 29% of the company, from increasing his stake by more than 15%.
Schnatter has in turn hired a high-powered LA attorney and has sued the chain to obtain documents he claims will cast his racially charged comments in a new light.
Schnatter resigned from the company in July following Forbes alleging he made racially insensitive comments during a "diversity media training" conference call with marketing firm Laundry Service. During the call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s,” Schnatter allegedly said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash.
He 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 the Forbes report, Schnatter wrote to the board of directors, claiming that Laundry Service tried to blackmail the pizza chain for $6 million to keep quiet about his use of the N-word during an answer to a question over whether he's a racist. He also says that he refused to work with Kanye West over the artist's use of the N-word.
Schnatter resigned his post last week at the behest of Papa John's board after confirming the Forbes' report. However, he said the comments were taken out of context and that he was provoked into using the N-word after Laundry Service executives on the call suggested the pizza chain bring on performer Kanye West as a co-spokesman for television spots and promotions.
Schnatter said he refused to work with West because "he uses the 'N' word in his lyrics," according to the letter. It was later on the call that Schnatter said he used the actual word when pressed whether or not he was a racist. -CNBC
"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 told the board. "Let me be very clear: I never used the 'N' word in that meeting as a racial epithet, nor would I ever."
And now Schnatter is being erased from his own company.