The founder and chairman of the popular pizza chain Papa John’s John Schnatter is apologizing for using a racial slur during a conference call in May. The incident happened during a role-playing exercise on a call with the marketing agency Laundry service. The training was meant to help prevent future public relations crisis, like the one that happened in the fall of 2017. Schnatter faced intense criticism for a comment he made about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. He said the action was hurting Papa John’s sales during games. He stepped down as CEO in January.
Forbes is reporting that on the conference call, Schnatter was asked about how he could create distance between himself and racist groups online. His response was: “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” referring to fast food chain KFC. He complained that Sanders never faced backlash. The parent company of KFC has not commented on Schnatter’s remark.
A source told Forbes that Schnatter also discussed his background growing up in Indiana. He said that he remembers people in his community killing black people by dragging them from their trucks. The source said that Schnatter apparently intended to demonstrate that he despises racism, but that multiple people involved on the conference call found his remarks offensive.
Schnatter sent out a statement to company members confirming that he had in fact used the n-word. The statement reads, “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true. Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Schnatter’s Pizza Franchise Has Earned Him Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
John H. Schnatter, Founder of Papa John’s
Schnatter’s net worth is estimated at $900 million. In early 2017, his value stood at about $1 billion.But the value of his stock dropped substantially amid the scandal with the NFL, which lowered his net worth.
His wealth has accumulated from the successful expansion of his pizza empire. There are more than 5,000 Papa John’s restaurants spread out across the globe. There are locations in all 50 states and at least another 37 countries. According to the company website, the franchise employs more than 23,000 people. It is the third largest pizza chain in the United States behind Domino’s and Pizza Hut.
Papa John’s went public in 1993. Schnatter owns about 30% of the company’s stock, making him Papa John’s largest shareholder. And he has cashed in on that immensely, as Papa John’s has been consistently increasing its net profits since at least 2013. In 2017, the estimated net revenue was $1.78 billion.
2. Schnattre Lives in a Mega Mansion in Kentucky
John Schnatter’s mansion
There are mansions. There are mega-mansions. And then there is John Schnatter’s beyond-massive home in Anchorage, Kentucky, a suburb of Louisville. According to a 2012 report, the house is about 40,000 square feet! You’d have to travel across the pond to find anything that …read more