Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter Resigns as Chairman After Using N-Word on Call

John Schnatter, the founder and public face of Papa John’s pizza, resigned from the restaurant chain’s board late Wednesday after admitting to Forbes that he used the “n-word” during a conference call with a marketing company in May, according to CNBC. The company said in a statement late Wednesday that it would appoint a new chairman in the next few weeks, while Olivia Kirtley will act as the lead independent director in the meantime. Schnatter had apologized for the remarks hours earlier, acknowledging to Forbes that he had used “inappropriate and hurtful language” during a “media training session regarding race.” Schnatter reportedly used the racial slur during a session meant to teach him how to better handle public-relations scandals after he sparked outrage last November for claiming the NFL’s kneeling players “debacle” was hurting his pizza sales. Schnatter reportedly tried to minimize the significance of those comments during the call by arguing that “Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s” without reproach. He stepped down from the company in January following backlash over his NFL comments but had remained chairman of the pizza company’s board. He also reportedly resigned from the University of Louisville’s board of trustees after his latest comments surfaced Wednesday.