Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter Now Says That His Resignation Was ‘A Mistake’

Timothy D. EasleyAP Images

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter wrote a letter to the company’s Board of Directors, saying his resignation as Chairman of the Board was a “mistake.”

As ABC News reports, Schnatter resigned last week as Chairman of the Board of the company he founded, following reports that he had used a racial slur, commonly referred to as “The N-Word,” earlier this year.

Back in November 2017, Schnatter got into hot water when he blamed national anthem protests at NFL games for declining sales at Papa John’s. That cost him his job as CEO of the company, but he retained his position as Chairman of the Board. Then in May 2018, he and other Papa John’s executives made a phone call to marketing agency Laundry Service in an effort to avoid any further public-relations mistakes. Unfortunately, as Forbes reported, the opposite happened, as Schnatter used the racial slur during that call.

“Colonel Sanders called blacks n*****s.”

He also spoke of his childhood in Indiana, and how it wasn’t uncommon for African Americans to be murdered by being dragged behind trucks.

Though the remarks were intended to demonstrate Schnatter’s dislike of racism, they still created intense public backlash, and he resigned.

Now Schnatter is claiming, in a letter to the board, that his resignation was forced and done without due process.

“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. I have checked with corporate governance experts who tell me that this was not a proper action by the board.”

Schnatter’s lawyer also wrote to the board. He said that the board “had no authority to remove Mr. Schnatter as a director.” He also called for “an independent investigation and fully inform itself as to what actually occurred.”

It is not clear if Schnatter, who remains the majority shareholder of stock in his company, is angling to get his position back, or is merely trying to hold the board accountable for his departure.

As for Colonel Sanders, the KFC founder’s grandson, Trigg Adams, isn’t having any of Schnatter’s claims that his (Trigg’s) grandfather used the slur. Speaking to The Louisville Courier-Journal, Adams called Schnatter a “weasel” and asked that his grandfather’s name not be dragged into this.

“Because he’s prejudiced, he’s trying to say somebody else was, too. (Sanders) had absolutely no prejudice against anybody.”

Another Sanders family member, great-granddaughter Cindy Wurster Sjorgen, echoed similar sentiments.

“[Sanders] was known to throw around a few cuss words but never a racial slur. For Mr. Schnatter to use the colonel as a scapegoat for his own horrible, disgusting mouth and racist beliefs is inexcusable.”