Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has been in a media firestorm ever since Forbes reported he used the n-word on a conference call. Allegedly, when asked how he would avoid white supremacist groups online, he referenced the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland David Sanders, saying, “Colonel Sanders called Blacks n***ers.” He also said that during his childhood, white people in Indiana used trucks to drag Black people to death.
Schnatter resigned as chairman, but now he wants to be reinstated and has thrown Kanye West’s name into it.
In a letter sent to the Board, which has been obtained by CNBC, Schnatter wrote, “The Board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so. I have checked with corporate governance experts who tell me that this was not a proper action by the Board.”
He also argued that his use of the n-word was taken out of context on the conference call. There was a suggestion the pizza chain should hire Kanye West as a co-spokesman and he allegedly refused because “he uses the ‘N’ word in his lyrics,” according to the letter. Schnatter continued, “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 also defended himself by saying, “Let me be very clear: I never used the ‘N’ word in that meeting as a racial epithet, nor would I ever.”
The Board has yet to respond, but regardless of the context Schnatter thinks he used the n-word in, he still admittedly used the slur. Plus, how does he explain his disrespectful comments about NFL players kneeling that he said back in December and which forced him to resign as the company’s chief operating officer?
That said, Schnatter wants his title back simply for the status — he is still profiting from the business. He is the company’s largest shareholder, owns 30 percent of it and his wife has a Papa John’s franchise with one restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky.