Papa John's founder Schnatter says stepping down was a 'mistake'

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

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

The Papa John's founder, John Schnatter, who resigned from his role as chairman last week after using the N-word, has now reportedly said it was a mistake to leave the company.

The board asked for his resignation "without apparently doing any investigation".

Schnatter also detailed what he called an "extortion attempt" by The Laundry Service, which he said the company fired, to get more money out of Papa John's by claiming some of its employees were offended by Schnatter's comment.

Schnatter, 56, is Papa John's largest individual shareholder, owning more than nine million shares, or roughly 30% of the company. "I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so", Schnatter wrote.

In the letter Saturday, Schnatter said that incident was also mishandled by the company's leadership "from a public relations standpoint" and that what he said was not racist. He claimed his former agency wanted $6 million to "make it go away". "I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted". However, he said the comments were taken out of context and that he was provoked into using the N-word after Laundry Service executives on the call suggested the pizza chain bring on performer Kanye West as a co-spokesman for television spots and promotions.

Papa John's founder is physically out at the pizza chain.

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The company has yet to comment to Schnatter's accusation, but continues to distance itself from its founder. Same-store sales in North America, similarly, dropped 5.3 percent during the first quarter, as its lost ground to Domino's and Pizza Hut.

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. He stepped down as CEO following backlash but had remained as chairman of the board.

In the letter, he insisted he would never use the N-word as a racial epithet.

In the call, meanwhile, also spoke of growing up in IN, and reportedly said that "people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died".

"We know we can do better and I'm confident that we will", Ritchie said in May.

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