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19th of July 2018


Pizza tycoon Papa John resigns for using the n-word during a meeting

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The tycoon who founded and gave his name to pizza chain Papa John’s has stepped down as company chairman after using the n-word during a conference call.

John Schnatter used the slur during a training exercise in May, when discussing his opposition to racism after being asked how he would distance himself from hate groups.

He is said to have answered that Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Sanders, who died in 1980, never faced any abuse for his use of the word.

Pizza tycoon Papa John resigns for using the n-word during a meeting Papa John’s boss John Schnatter pictured during a company meeting Wednesday, where he apologized for using the n-word during a conference call (Picture: AP)

After Forbes magazine reported the gaffe, Schnatter said it was true he had used the ‘inappropriate and hurtful’ word.

He added: ‘Regardless of the context, I apologise.’

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Papa John’s appointed Olivia Kirtley as an interim boss, and said it would appoint a new chairman in the coming week.

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A statement from the chain said: ‘Papa John’s condemns racism and any insensitive language, no matter the situation or setting.

‘We take great pride in the diversity of the Papa John’s family, though diversity and inclusion is an area we will continue to strive to do better.’

Pizza tycoon Papa John resigns for using the n-word during a meeting Schnatter set up his first pizzeria in the back of his father’s tavern in Jefferson, In., in 1984, with the business now having over 4,700 outlets worldwide (Picture: Papa John’s)

Schnatter founded the company in 1984 by knocking out a broom closet in the back of his father’s taver in Jeffersonville, In.

Papa John’s now hs over 4,700 restaurants, 3,500 of which are in the US.

Schnatter resigned as Papa John’s chief executive last December amid slowing sales.

He said the outrcry over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism was partly to blame, with Papa John’s sponsoring the league until February this year.

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