Papa John’s International Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA)announced that John H Schnatter, Chairman of the Board, has resigned. Schnatter’s resignation announcement comes after news that he used a racial slur in a conference call, which caused a commotion among the public.
Schnatter acknowledged his use of the racial slur during a conference call that took place in May, which came to light when Forbes detailed the incident in an article published Wednesday.The call was between the Company’s executives and Laundry Service, a marketing agency. In the call, Schnatter was working with Laundry Service in a media training exercise to prevent future public relations issues. During the duration of the conference call, Schnatter was questioned on how he would distance himself from racist groups online, to which Schnatter replied, “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” before complaining Sanders never faced any public repercussions at KFC.
His intentions were apparently to show his distaste for racism, but multiple individuals on the call were offended with his remarks, a source familiar with the matter said.
Laundry Service owner, Casey Wasserman, has terminated the Company’s contract with Papa John’s after discovering the incident.
In an email statement on Wednesday, Schnatter confirms that he made the statements, issuing an apology, saying, “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true. Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”