Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter said the n-word on a conference call

Papa John Schnatter

Quelle surprise. The CEO of Papa John’s is a total racist? I just fell down from the shock of it! For our international readers, Papa John’s is a pizza chain which makes terrible pizza AND sponsors a lot of the sporting events for rednecks and white dudes. Papa John’s is heavy into the sponsorship deals with country music stuff and NASCAR (git ‘er done) and the NFL. Papa John’s CEO is “Papa” John Schnatter, who was already known for saying and believing some racist sh-t. He threw a fit about the NFL anthem protests, saying that it was the league’s responsibility to “nip it in the bud” and just ORDER black players to not exercise their constitutional rights. And now, shock of shocks, it turns out that Schnatter just full-on said the n-word in a conference call.

John Schnatter—the founder, chairman and public face of pizza chain Papa John’s—used the N-word on a conference call in May. Schnatter confirmed the incident in an emailed statement to Forbes on Wednesday.

The call was arranged between Papa John’s executives and marketing agency Laundry Service. It was designed as a role-playing exercise for Schnatter in an effort to prevent future public-relations snafus. Schnatter caused an uproar in November 2017 when he waded into the debate over national anthem protests in the NFL and partly blamed the league for slowing sales at Papa John’s.

On the May call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online. He responded by downplaying the significance of his NFL statement. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” Schnatter said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash.

Schnatter also reflected on his early life in Indiana, where, he said, people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died. He apparently intended for the remarks to convey his antipathy to racism, but multiple individuals on the call found them to be offensive, a source familiar with the matter said. After learning about the incident, Laundry Service owner Casey Wasserman moved to terminate the company’s contract with Papa John’s.

In an emailed statement on Wednesday afternoon, Schnatter confirmed the allegations. “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” he said. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”

[From Forbes]

Just sit here and ponder this: the executives at Papa John’s knew that their CEO has major issues when it comes to race and racism. So they hired a service who they believed could help Schnatter deal with this stuff, at least publicly, so he wouldn’t sound like such a flaming klansman. And the company which was brought in to train Schnatter and help him deal with the crisis management QUIT after that one conference call. That’s how bad it was. That’s how terrible Schnatter is. What’s the lesson here? I don’t know. White people, you never have a pass to say that word. Don’t eat at Papa John’s. Don’t support anything sponsored by Papa John’s. And maybe fire Schnatter?

Update: Apparently, Schnatter did resign yesterday, my bad, I didn’t see that.

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69 Responses to “Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter said the n-word on a conference call”

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  1. RBC says:

    So…if this guy had not made the comment on a conference call, overheard by a group of people would he still be CEO? He steps down and avoids a bigger public relations backlash/boycott, but at the same time his stock in the company is not affected too much.
    It all comes down to money ,he is still a racist and a steaming pile of manure

  2. Kitty says:

    He said while on a conference call that was supposed to be a role playing thing so he could learn to avoid saying problematic shit? I can’t laugh hard enough at this. This guys is a total racist tool

    • DesertReal says:

      I love this so much.
      It’s like in spite of the objective of the call, he just…couldn’t…help…it.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      Kitty can you imagine the folks running the role playing exercise!?! They must have been speechless. What a hot mess that call was! I also cannot stop laughing. Racist can’t stop being racist for anti-racist training.

  3. C-Shell says:

    He resigned late yesterday, but I’m expecting some kind of tweet out of Trump praising him as a “good guy.” Man, I hate to wake up to the news each day.

  4. Neelyo says:

    He doesn’t get nearly enough shit for the crap he’s done to his face.

    • DesertReal says:

      For yeeeears every time I’d see his shiny, puffy, pulled, bloated and botoxed face- I couldn’t help but wonder how no one else seemed to see what I was seeing.
      If this was any woman ever in the history of everdom, you wouldn’t be able to escape the commentary.

      • chips n sticks says:

        His gross pasty face was the first thing I noticed. It’s so bloated. It’s swallowed his mouth!

      • Liz version 700 says:

        His face creeped me out first. Then I heard about his awful politics/racist attitudes. His evil shines through with a weird just say no to more plastic surgery vibe.

      • trumptrickle says:

        His face was the inspiration for cheese stuffed crusts.

    • Lady D says:

      When I look at him, I see a mixture of malice and evil on his face, so vivid it’s as if someone took a felt pen and wrote it on his face. You can see it through his sunglasses. Dude is bad news. I absolutely believe he participated in dragging.

  5. grabbyhands says:

    Don’t worry Schnatter! I’m sure the president will be calling you shortly to offer you a high ranking position in his cabinet.

    • Kitty says:

      This would not be surprising honestly…have you read about bill shine and his nutso wife

      • boredblond says:

        Can you believe her?? Her hubby, now a WH biggie enabled and covered up faux news crimes, and she stated women in the military should expect sexual harassment..and laughed about it..the perfect ignorant trump voter..

      • Kitty says:

        It blows my mind how horrible people are, it shouldn’t anymore but it does.

  6. smcollins says:

    He needs to be exiled to his moat-surrounded “castle” to live out the rest of his days in the tower. He’s such a garbage person and his pizza SUCKS.

    • Christin says:

      His Kentucky “house” is worth a quick search to see. Especially in light of how he was griping about having to pay employees for affordable health care.

      He’s basically retiring as board chair and will still make a bundle from whatever franchises remain. The one closest to me closed last year after 20 years. The other one in our city already has terrible reviews. And we are in the shadow of one of the most popular racetracks for the good ole boys.

      • smcollins says:

        Yeah, his stance and actions surrounding healthcare for his employees really sealed the deal for me as far as how much of a greedy, vile, douchebag he really is. It would be such sweet justice if he somehow went broke and lost all his money, which probably won’t ever happen, but a girl can dream.

      • Christin says:

        I join you in your wish. If he has to sell the castle someday, we’ll be happy, right? I cannot imagine the upkeep on that place, and it’s said to be one of four properties he and his wife own.

  7. Jen says:

    Disgusting pizza, disgusting man.

  8. Beth says:

    He’s seemed sleazy for quite some time. I’ve never had his pizza,and I never ever will

  9. IlsaLund says:

    Papa John pizza is disgusting and doesn’t deserve to be called pizza. My son (who attended an HBCU) told me Papa John’s would never deliver to his campus so to this day he hates them.

    What really needs to be talked about is this statement he made: “Schnatter also reflected on his early life in Indiana, where, he said, people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died.“ WTF? The guy was either lying or participated/witnessed actual murders.

    • RBC says:

      That stood out to me as well. Hopefully someone in law enforcement or a reporter will do some digging

    • magnoliarose says:

      He’s lying or he was there. That is what racists do. They choose something incredibly heinous as an example to make what they did seem tame. I *only* said something hurtful I didn’t actually MURDER anyone.
      His pizza is gross. I had it once visiting in the South and blech.

    • Honey says:

      No, I’m from IL. There are or were parts of Indiana like that.

      • Hoot says:

        You know it. I hope he’s now experiencing his own living H*ll before making the trip down there at his end.

    • Lady D says:

      Ya, he was there.

  10. notpretentious says:

    Exactly my thoughts too IlsaLund! WTAF!!

  11. Sayrah says:

    Good thing Peyton Manning severed ties with him a while back.

    • magnoliarose says:

      I bet somewhere he is pointing to the heavens and giving thanks. Maybe he knew it would head this way one day? I have no idea but he is lucky.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      yeah, but he still hangs out/plays golf with 45, so Peyton, as much as I used to really like him, is cancelled, too.

      • Lucy2 says:

        Read up on Peyton Manning, especially what he did well in college harassing one of the female trainers, and you may change your opinion of him even more. He is not a good guy.

      • Kitten says:

        This. Peyton is a creep, too. The company you keep and all that,.

      • Christin says:

        He’s not what he appears to be. Really good PR at work, and ability to sidestep a lot of rumors through the years.

  12. PBAN says:

    At some point these people will learn; they can say whatever they want; but be ready for everyone else to react the way they want.

    Glad to say I have never eaten anything from Papa Johns

  13. kate says:

    They are not even pretending anymore, aren’t they? But I guess that when Klan president is sitting his fat a** in the White House, there is no need to pretend you’re not a racist a**hole yourself.

  14. Giddy says:

    Disgusting, racist, small-minded little man. Although fabulously fortunate himself, he has obviously learned nothing about acceptance and kindness towards others. In Louisville there is the huge Papa John’s stadium. This reveals his many p.r. events featuring athletes of color to be just stunts, and not indicative of his true feelings. I wonder if any of those athletes will boycott playing there.

  15. Christin says:

    He’s the Jared of pizza. This is what can happen when a company allows one person to be their public face.

    Speaking of faces, I barely recognized this guy. He looks like a wax figure.

  16. Adrien says:

    Until now I never understood the purpose of the complimentary sad jalapeno pepper or why we have to dip the pizza in a butter sauce. The butter sauce is so good though but I use them on plain bread sticks not on the already greasy pizza.

  17. Christina S. says:

    I hate papa johns so good riddance as far as I’m concerned

  18. Lucy2 says:

    He’s been an awful disgusting person for a long time, I’m glad he’s finally facing some sort of repercussions. It never should’ve been allowed to go this long though.

  19. Ladykeller says:

    Schnatter also reflected on his early life in Indiana, where, he said, people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died.

    WTF. When I hear people talk about how racism isnt a problem and how people of color should just get over it I am so livid. How old is this guy? That stuff like this was happening in America during his life time should tell people all they need to know about the history of racism in America.

  20. Scal says:

    On a selfish note- where am I going to order boozy late night pizza delivery from now on? Been off Dominoes for year because their owner is a religious nut, and now this guy with Papa Johns. Am I stuck with Pizza hut? Their pizza is terrible. And Little Cesars doesn’t deliver.

    • Giddy says:

      Serious question: are any of the frozen pizzas good? I’ve never had a good one, but maybe we need to look. There should be something better than the delivery brands you mentioned. I’m certainly not putting a penny in Papa John’s golden piggy bank.

      • dogmom says:

        Newman’s Own frozen pizza is good! And also, didn’t that crazy religious nutjob owner of Domino’s sell the company or something? I think I remember reading a while back that he had nothing to do with it anymore so it was ok to order from there again.

      • C-Shell says:

        I have to eat gluten free, but have found Freschetta’s frozen GF pizza to be very good, also Against The Grain. Of course, I always tart it up with more tomato paste, cheese, sausage or pepperoni, fresh veggies and herbs, so yeah, no. None of them is great without some enhancement.

      • Milo says:

        Screaming scicilian makes amazing frozen pizzas. And the refrigerated Walmart pizzas are awesome also.

      • Shannon says:

        Screamin’ Sicilian is a really good frozen brand

      • trumptrickle says:

        Monaghan sold most of the controlling shares of Domino’s to Bain Capital (remember them?). he’s using his money now for that attempt at growing a town in Florida that will obey Catholic sharia law.

      • jwoolman says:

        C-Shell – Wild Harvest has a really good gluten-free frozen pizza. The crust is better than frozen wheat crusts available to me. It’s based on rice and tapioca, I think, which is always a good combination. Can’t remember what else is in it.

    • Kitten says:

      Do you guys have Papa Gino’s where you live? That might be only a Mass chain..not sure.
      I used to love their pizza growing up.

      But now that I’ve gone full-hipster, I only order from the two wood-fired, Neapolitan places near me. They both give you the option of adding an egg which is a MUST for me. Pizza is soooo much better with a runny egg in the center :)

    • chips n sticks says:

      Try your local Mom and Pop pizza place. We never order from a chain because they can’t compete with our local places.

      • me says:

        I agree. We have a local Italian restaurant that makes the BEST pizza. I’m craving it right now ! It’s more expensive than a chain restaurant but worth it.

    • EmBee says:

      Local pizza chains usually have the best pizza. Pizza Hut is delicious IMO, those are fighting words lol.
      Sadly the owner of one of my favorite local pizza places is a HUGE Trumpster. Right before the election we went to get a pizza and I saw this car in the parking lot covered in Trump stickers and flags, as I looked closer I saw the pizza place logo on it. Then I found out the owner had huge Trump flags and signs in front of his house (still does) and had some real problematic fb posts. Why why why does pizza have to be ruined by the Orange bozo?

  21. me says:

    Nice to finally see racist White dudes getting their karma. They’ve been rewarded for far too long for awful behavior. Now when is Trump going to get impeached?

  22. Shelly says:

    Remember how he went after Obamacare!

  23. Ruyana says:

    His “resignation” means nothing. He also supposedly “resigned” after the NFL flap. He’s got two ginormous estates to maintain and I ‘m sure that takes a lot, A LOT, of cash. He’ll be back because he needs the money.

  24. EmBee says:

    Didn’t Colonel Sanders die like 40 years ago? Does he mean that his likeness still gets used even though he said the N word? This man has always been trash, just like his pizza.

  25. Shannon says:

    Sigh. And this is why we can’t have nice things. I like their pizza – it reminds me of my first semester in college. It was right around the corner in Carrollton, GA and we used to order from them all the time. So it gives me nice memories. Ugh. Well, I guess it’s Pizza Hut (which isn’t bad) or driving for me LOL What a racist douche, can’t stand him.

  26. Isomurr says:

    I am a delivery driver for PJs. I was terribly ashamed about the NFL comments and this just takes the cake. I thought it was bad enough that we make $6.00/hr and no benefits but I will not tolerate blatant racism. New job for me, I guess.

  27. Yeahiknow says:

    My husband used to work at a local papa johns… it wasn’t a great experience for him. This guy is a pos and I 100% agree with what everyone here has posted about employee healthcare his company offers (it was laughable to us that my husbands entire check and then some was part of the compensation), BUT is the pizza really that bad? Idk, I’m a Midwest girl, I always thought it was ok, but have always leaned more into Imo’s myself. I’ll see myself out for what I’m sure others probably think is my terrible taste in pizza.

  28. Natalia says:

    “Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”

    Yeah but it still belongs in your mind and heart and in your damn conference call doesn’t it, jerk?

    I once attended a church where the provided food at meetings was always either Papa John’s, Chik fil A and one other flaming racist place I can’t remember right now. And the members! OMG a few conservative political world famous people is all I’m going to say. And one major musical celebrity. And I was attending there when all that flap about Chik fil A went down several years ago. Some of the members are so brainwashed they think yoga is evil, non- Christian and therefore very dangerous. One woman whined that she won’t read the AARP magazine because “it’s liberal trash.” I got the heck out once I realized all that.

    This tool is such a “fine, upstanding Christian.” 😝