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According to Forbes, Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, reportedly used the n-word while participating in a role-playing exercise designed to prevent public relations crises.
On the call, Schnatter sought to downplay the significance of his criticism of the league and its players, Forbes reported.
“Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” he said, complaining that Sanders had never received backlash, according to Forbes.
Forbes also reported that Schnatter recalled growing up in Indiana, where he said people used to drag black people from their trucks until they died.
Forbes reported that Schnatter’s comments were intended to demonstrate his stance against racism, but that people on the call were offended.
Schnatter resigned Wednesday from the University of Louisville board of trustees. The chairman, J. David Grissom, said: “After speaking with John, I’m confident that his comments, while inappropriate, do not reflect his personal beliefs or values.” He added that the members of the board don’t condone racism or “insensitive” language. He also thanked Schnatter for his “generous support for so many years.”
Papa John’s () stock closed down 4.8%.
Schnatter founded Papa John’s in 1984. He is the public face of the company and its largest shareholder, controlling 29%, and appears in its ads, including one that rolled out as recently as April.