According to CBS News, John Schnatter, the recently shunned founder of infamous pizza chain Papa John’s, is back in the public eye once again, this time for launching a website – SavePapaJohns.com – to air his grievances amid his former company’s attempts to “silence” him.
On the website, Schnatter has posted a brief, personal letter to his former employees, in which he vaguely apologizes for the “entire situation.”
“As I said in a recent letter, I miss you all very much,” the statement reads. “More than words can express! Papa John’s is our life’s work and we will all get through this together somehow, some way. I can only imagine how difficult this entire situation is on you, and I’m very sorry you all have to go through this. Know that in every minute of every day you are all in my thoughts and prayers.”
While Schnatter was forced to resign as chairman just last month for reportedly using a racial slur in the middle of a conference call, he still remains the largest shareholder of the pizza emporium. Only months before the news of his racially charged comment came to light, Schnatter found himself embroiled in another scandal after he criticized NFL players for taking a knee during the national anthem and then proceeded to blame the pizza chain’s slowing sales on the players’ protests. Papa John’s was a major NFL sponsor and advertiser at the time.
Schnatter has since blamed Papa John’s for pushing him aside and taking his comments “out of context” and has even attempted to sue the company for access to its books and records. Despite the pizza chain’s endeavors to distance itself from the former chairman and CEO, however, Schnatter still holds a 30 percent stake in the company’s assets, although the chain has implemented a plan to prevent him from accumulating a majority of the shares.
In an email, a spokesperson for the pizza chain said, “We are not, nor should we be, dependent on one person,” referring to Schnatter. “No matter what John does, he will not be able to distract from the inappropriate comments he made.”
Schnatter, however, is determined to keep fighting back. On the homepage of his new website, he notes, “I built Papa John’s from the ground up and remain its largest shareholder. I love my Company, its employees, franchisees and customers. The Board wants to silence me. So this is my website, and my way to talk to you.”