In a way, you have to give Papa John Schnatter some credit. When the guy goes downhill, he keeps going until he discovers whole new depths to explore.
Just in case you need to catch up, the founder and chairman of Papa John’s, no stranger to making poorly-thought-out comments, used the N-word during a conference call in which he was attempting to figure out how not to be associated with people who use the N-word. The fallout was shocking in its swiftness.
- Schnatter resigned as chairman of the board for Papa John’s.
- He stepped down from the Louisville Board of Trustees.
- Major League Baseball suspended its Papa Slam promotion with Papa John’s.
- Papa John’s shares tanked.
- Papa John’s is removing Schnatter’s likeness from all of their promotional material and logos.
- Louisville removed Schnatter’s name from the Center for Free Enterprise at their College of Business, which he had donated $4.64 million for.
- The school is also removing the name Papa John’s from their football stadium (formerly known as “Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium”), which was doable because the naming rights belonged to Schnatter and not the company.
All of that happened within a couple days of the news. That, it would have seemed, would have been that. Except we should all by now not to underestimate John Schnatter when it comes to debasing himself.
First, Schnatter appeared on a radio program and blamed the agency on the conference call for “bullying” him into saying the N-word. It seems strange that a man who built a pizza empire from the ground up could be bullied into saying racist terms on a conference call, but, sure, let’s go with that.
Second, it turns out that Schnatter has expressed some regret after everything happened. However, that regret is not for what he said but for stepping down from his company so quickly. A letter he wrote to the Papa John’s board of directors after stepping down has surfaced and it reveals that Schnatter feels betrayed on all sides over the entire kerfuffle.
“The board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so,” Mr. Schnatter said in the letter, dated Saturday. “I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted.”
“I then said something on the order of, Colonel Sanders used the word “N,” (I actually used the word,) that I would never use that word and Papa John’s doesn’t use that word,” Schnatter wrote. “…Let me be very clear: I never used the “N” word in that meeting as a racial epithet, nor would I ever.”
Taking things to the next level, Schnatter then noted that the discussion itself started when he personally objected to the agency’s suggestion that Papa John’s should hire Kanye West as a spokesperson. Schnatter said in the letter that he disapproved because West “uses the “N” word in his lyrics.” Schnatter added that The Laundry Service, the agency he was on the conference call with, attempted to extort him and the company for payment with the threat of the conference call recording.
Story continues to be more bizarre….Papa John says he was asked to hire Kanye West as a co-spokesman but didn’t because he uses the N-word. https://t.co/1qfwep3Nnh
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) July 17, 2018
It’s pretty exciting because, at this point, who knows what wonders await us tomorrow. Will Schnatter do another ill-advised interview? Will he randomly show up on Infowars to state his case? Will he start a new pizza company to directly compete with Papa John’s, like Michael Scott starting The Michael Scott Paper Company?
What wonders may come…