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Archived: After Using the N-word on Conference Call, Papa John's Founder Resigns from Board

It was revealed Wednesday that John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza, used the N-word during a conference call in May. After Schnatter issued an apology, he stepped down as chairman of the board.


The company issued the following statement: “Papa John’s International, Inc. today announced that the independent directors of the company have accepted the resignation of John H. Schnatter as chairman of the board. Olivia Kirtley acts as the company’s lead independent director. Papa John’s will appoint a new chairman of the board in the coming weeks.”

Related Story: Papa John’s Founder Uses the N-word on Conference Call About Crisis Communications

Following Forbes’ report that Schnatter used a racial slur against Black people on a crisis communications phone call, Papa John’s shares fell almost 5 percent, dropping from a high of $51.04 shortly after the opening bell to $48.42 per share by the close.

Along with the drop in shares, #PapaJohns began to circulate on Twitter with posts from people vowing not to eat the pizza brand:

Schnatter also stepped down from the University of Louisville’s board of trustees after serving for two years. A statement from the board’s chairman, J. David Grissom, was posted on Twitter:

“After speaking with John, I’m confident that his comments, while inappropriate, do not reflect his personal beliefs or values.” Grissom added that the members of the board don’t condone racism or “insensitive” language.

Related Story: Papa John’s CEO Fired After Criticizing NFL Players and Becoming Loved by Nazis

Schnatter founded Papa John’s in 1984 and was the face of the brand. He stepped down as CEO of the company earlier this year after it was revealed that in a November phone call with investors, he blamed his declining pizza sales on the predominantly Black NFL players who took a knee to protest police brutality during the national anthem.

In 2012, Schnatter also faced backlash as he threatened to cut workers’ hours and raise the price of pizza because of Obamacare.

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