Papa John’s founder: Stepping down as chairman a "mistake"

Papa John’s founder: Stepping down as chairman a

Papa John’s founder: Stepping down as chairman a "mistake"

Papa John's founder John Schnatter came under pressure after a media report stated he used a racial slur and graphic descriptions of violence against minorities.

Schnatter says the board requested that he step down as chairman without "any investigation" and he should not have complied, according to a letter his representative says was sent to the board Saturday.

Schnatter reportedly recounted the incident in the letter, saying he said he wasn't racist during the conference call.

Schnatter resigned last week after apologizing for using the slur during a confidential training exercise with a marketing agency.

Schnatter's image will be removed from marketing materials as well because of his action.

Still a member of the board, Schnatter, according to regulatory filings, as of March held 29 percent of Papa John's shares, now worth about $500 million.

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Schnatter opened up about his use of a racial slur in an interview with Louisville radio station WHAS on Friday.

Papa John's is struggling to revive its business as Domino's Pizza Inc. and a resurgent Pizza Hut eat into its market share. "They took what I said and they ran to Forbes and Forbes printed it and it went viral".

He added: "I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted".

During the May conference call, Schnatter attempted to downplay his public criticism of the NFL's handling of player national anthem protests, arguing that KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders had "called black people [the N-word]" without facing a public outcry. The marketing firm, Laundry Service, did not respond to requests for comment. "We're not gonna talk about this, '" Schnatter told Louisville radio station WHAS. "But they actually wanted to get into that vocabulary, and I said absolutely not".

In the call, meanwhile, also spoke of growing up in IN, and reportedly said that "people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died".

The pizza franchise announced in a statement that Schnatter will "cease all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees".

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