Papa John's founder calls resignation a 'mistake'

Papa John’s Founder Now Calls Resignation a ‘Mistake’ AP

Papa John’s Founder Now Calls Resignation a ‘Mistake’ AP

The move comes days after John Schnatter, the corporation's founder, admitted to using the N-word during an internal conference call.

"The board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation", he said in the letter obtained by CNBC.

Schnatter resigned as chairman shortly after Forbes reported that he had used a racial slur during a media training session with Laundry Service, a marketing firm that had been coaching him on how to avoid public relations mishaps.

In a news release issued July 15, Papa John's global said a special committee of the board of directors "has approved and directed the company to terminate Mr. Schnatter's Founder Agreement".

Some board members want Schnatter - who owns about 30 percent of the company's stock - to leave the board altogether, Schnatter wrote in his letter.

In a statement published Sunday, the company also requested that Schnatter "cease all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees".

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Schnatter said Laundry Service suggested using Kanye West as a co-spokesman, but Schnatter said he declined because West used the N-word in his music.

Schnatter is "confident that an examination of the facts will bear out what I have written in this letter", and that it will "show that once again our company has demonstrated that it does not know how to handle a crisis based on misinformation".

At least five sports teams have dropped partnerships with Papa John's, and two universities have distanced themselves from the company or Schnatter in the wake of his comments, as has the mayor of his hometown of Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Schnatter resigned from Louisville's board of trustees and as the pizza chain's chairman.

The company has yet to comment to Schnatter's accusation, but continues to distance itself from its founder. At the time Schnatter said the controversy was hurting pizza sales.

During the May call, Schnatter tried to downplay controversial remarks he made last November about how the NFL was handling players protesting during the National Anthem. Schnatter says he used the word while describing how Colonel Sanders spoke, but that he would never use it as an epithet.

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