Papa John Is Gone: Pizza Chain Founder Resigns After Racist Remark

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The company made the announcement late Wednesday, hours after Schnatter apologized for using a racial slur during a conference call in May. 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. The call was meant to facilitate public relations strategies to avoid coming off as a racist, which Schnatter desperately needed after his criticism of kneeling National Football League players got him uplifted by white supremacists and booted as the company's CEO. During the call, he reportedly said "Colonel Sanders called blacks n--" and never faced backlash.

Forbes reported that Schnatter's comments were meant to demonstrate his stance against racism, but that people on the call were offended by them.

"To be clear, none of our people attended the meeting reported in Wednesday's Forbes article, and no one at Papa John's ever used racially-charged language in front of any of our team members", the PR agency's statement said.

He added: 'Regardless of the context, I apologise'. "Simply stated, racism has no place in our society", Schnatter's statement said.

Schnatter's comments have landed the company in hot water before.

Papa John's shares fell almost 5 percent on the news Wednesday, dipping from a high of $51.04 shortly after the opening bell to $48.42 per share by the close.

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According to NBC News, Mr. Schnatter also resigned Wednesday from his vice chairman post on the University of Louisville Board of Trustees.

The company said, "Papa John's condemns racism and any insensitive language, no matter the situation or setting".

"After speaking with John, I'm confident that his comments, while inappropriate, do not reflect his personal beliefs or values", Grissom wrote.

Casey Wasserman, the chief executive of Wasserman, the talent management company that owns Laundry Service, declined to comment.

Schnatter's departure comes after Netflix last month fired its top spokesman over use of the N-word.

Instead, many on the call were offended and the agency's owner moved to terminate its contact with Papa John's. "We want to make it clear to all of you that racism has no place at Papa John's", according to the email obtained by Bloomberg.