Papa John's founder says resigning over N-word use was a mistake

John Schnatter

Modal Trigger John Schnatter GC Images

After Forbes reported that he used the N-word during a conference call meant to help him avoid public-relations incidents, Schnatter resigned from his role as the company's chairman last week.

Schnatter resigned as chairman and quit the University of Louisville board of trustees last week after publicly apologizing for using the N-word during a media training with a marketing agency. Papa John's announced Friday it would remove Schnatter's image from its marketing materials.

Yesterday, Papa John's board of directors terminated an office leasing agreement, effectively kicking Schnatter out of his office at the company's headquarters. According to the letter, Schnatter refused to work with West because "he uses the N-word in his lyrics". "In other words, Mr. Schnatter's conduct and recommendations were strongly in the best interests of the Company".

Schnatter also claimed that Laundry Service asked Papa John's for $6 million in payment-more than four times what Schnatter says they were owed-because some of its staff had been offended by his comments.

"They wanted $6 million to make it go away", Schnatter said during that WLKY interview. "The disparaging and outrageous comments about Wasserman and Laundry Service that have been covered are completely false and we have a centralized PR strategy to go on the record and refute them".

Schnatter's lawyer, Patricia Glaser, said in a separate letter that her client "is not going to go quietly", arguing that the board of directors can not remove Schnatter as chairman without submitting the proposal to a shareholder vote.

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Papa John's stock has fallen more than 33% in the past 12 months as it struggles to compete with its larger rivals Pizza Hut and Domino's.

Schnatter sent the memo over the weekend, criticizing the board for allegedly forcing him to step down before investigating the recent complaint against him.

Laundry Service has not commented on Schnatter's allegations and did not return the Daily Mail's request for comment. Until recently, Papa John's was an National Football League sponsor and Schnatter attempted to blame poor sales on anthem protests held by National Football League players. The MLB said it is also suspending its "Papa Slam" pizza promotion during games.

In the call, meanwhile, also spoke of growing up in IN, and reportedly said that "people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died".

Schnatter has said that he thought the call was confidential.

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