The founder of the Papa John’s pizza chain has stepped down as chairman of the board after he apologized for using a racial slur against African Americans during a conference call in May. John Schnatter’s resignation comes months after he had already quit as CEO in the wake of controversial remarks concerning the National Football League’s handling of anthem protests.
An article published Wednesday in Forbes detailed the latest incident from May involving a conference call between Papa John’s executives and the marketing agency Laundry Service. In the call, Schnatter sought to downplay his earlier remarks about the NFL’s protests, led by African American players, allegedly saying that “Colonel Sanders called blacks n******,” and never faced a public rebuke.
The company said in a statement late Wednesday night that it will appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks. Olivia Kirtley will act as the company’s lead independent director, it added. News of Schnatter’s resignation came shortly after Yahoo Sports reported that the Major League Baseball had indefinitely suspended its Papa Slam promotion — a campaign that both sides have collaborated on since 2016. The MLB confirmed the suspension to CNBC.