John Schnatter: Louisville ‘Not Being Honest’ After Stadium Name Decision

Ivan Schwartz
July 18, 2018

Former Papa John's CEO John Schnatter found himself in some hot water after it was revealed that he used a racial slur during a conference call.

While Schnatter made repeated apologies during the interviews, saying that it was wrong to use the word regardless of context, they only seemed to deepen a controversy that has engulfed the company he founded.

The fallout from the remarks has hurt company's bottom line, with Papa John's stock shares dipping 12 cents on Friday, to $53.55, after a brief surged on news that Schnatter was resigning from the company.

FC Dallas, which partnered with Papa John's to offer fans 50 percent off the price of a single pizza after games in which the team scored twice, told the Observer on Friday afternoon that the team has suspended its promotion with Papa John's, effective immediately.

Steve Ritchie, who replaced Papa John's International Inc.'s founder John Schnatter as CEO at the beginning of the year, said in a statement Friday that Schnatter will "no longer be in any of the advertising or marketing materials associated with the brand". (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter attends a meeting in Louisville, Ky. on October 18, 2017.

As rolling out previously reported, Schnatter resigned as chairman of Papa John's board of directors last week. "They said, you know we've got this issue. We're not gonna talk about this, '" Schnatter told Louisville radio station WHAS.

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And he said senior leadership would visit key locations to hold "listening sessions" with employees to enable them to voice concerns. Schnatter wore a Papa John's shirt during the interview.

The company's logo has been on Papa John's Cardinal Stadium since it was built 20 years ago.

When it comes to better ingredients and better pizza, the Seattle Seahawks will no longer be rolling with Papa John's. "They pushed me and it upset me, and I just said, 'Listen, other people have used that word". The backlash was swift, with many promising to boycott Papa John's in response to Schnatter's comments.

Papa John's top leaders "are in the bunker now", working on emergency strategies to fix the company's relationship with consumers, particularly people of color, Schiffer said. Our employees represent all walks of life, and we are committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable workplace for all.

The letter also outlined actions the company is taking, which include hiring consultants to audit Papa Johns' culture, diversity and inclusion practices. As the leader of Papa John's, I'm sorry.

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