Papa John's founder reportedly used racial slur during conference call

Papa John's founder apologizes for using N-word

The Forbes news site reported that John Schnatter used the N-word during a media training exercise. According to the report, a May conference call that addressed the manner in which Schnatter would distance himself from online racist groups, Schnatter complained that Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders used the "N" word in reference to African-Americans without scrutiny or effect.

Former Papa John's CEO John Schnatter has issued his official apology for using a racial slur in a conference call back in May.

"Regardless of the context, I apologize", the statement says.

Schnatter, who founded the company in 1984, resigned as chief executive in December previous year, after drawing criticism for comments he made at the National Football League (NFL) leadership. Laundry Service has since terminated its contract with Papa John's, according to Forbes. In the aftermath, Schnatter announced his resignation as the company's chairman late Wednesday night.

According to Forbes, the call between Schnatter and the marketing company was set up for Schnatter to engage in a "role-playing exercise" in which Schnatter would be trained to "prevent future public relations snafus" like the one in December that followed when he blamed the National Football League kneeling protests for struggling third-quarter earnings in 2017.

John Schnatter, 56, is most recognizable as the voice and face of Papa John's television commercials. "No member of the board of trustees condones racism or insensitive language regardless of the setting". "We've got to own up and take the hit for our missteps and refocus on the constant pursuit of better that is the DNA of our brand". Brandon Rhoten, who joined as CMO in May 2017 and selected Laundry Service as the company's creative agency of record in October, left a year later.

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The agency didn't name either the client or the executive in the letter.

Shares in the pizza company dropped 5.9 percent following the announcement of the news, knocking $96.2million (£73million) off the company's market value.

Now Major League Baseball is distancing itself from Papa John's.

Papa John's executives have touted their recent hiring of the firm as part of their turnaround plans for the brand's advertising.

Papa John's Founder, Chairman and CEO John Schnatter, left, at the NFL Media Center, promoting Papa John's Super Bowl XLVII Coin Toss Experience, in January 2013.

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