John Schnatter, Papa John’s founder, has resigned as chairman of the board after acknowledging and apologizing for using the racial slur ‘n*gger’ during a conference call in May.
Schnatter quit as chairman on Wednesday amid a rising uproar about his comments, however he will stay on the board; Papa John’s shares, which fell almost 5% on Wednesday, were up 12% on Thursday.
Papa John’s said in a statement late Wednesday night that it will appoint a new chairman soon. Lead independent director of the board, Olivia Kirtley, will run the board until a definite replacement is found, it added.
A report, which was later concurred by Schnatter, stated he was on a phonecall with marketing agency Laundry Service when he tried to downplay remarks he made about the National Football League last fall by saying, “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s” and never faced any public backlash at KFC.”
According to Forbes, the now-former Papa John’s chairman added that people used to ‘drag African-Americans from trucks until they died.’ Though his statement was seemingly intended to impart his distaste for racism, Forbes said multiple people on the conference call were offended. The call was part of media training for Schnatter to forestall future public relations follies.
“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media-training session regarding race are true,” Schnatter expressed in a statement released Wednesday by the establishment.
“Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society,” Schnatter’s statement read.
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