Mariners suspend relationship with Papa John’s after reports of founder’s racist slur

Posted July 14, 2018

Papa John's, which has featured founder John Schnatter as the face of the company in logos and TV ads, is pulling his image from its marketing after reports he used a racial slur. The slur usage came during a call that involved, among others, a marketing agency that was helping "prepare him for an interview to try to fix his public image" in the wake of the NFL's national anthem controversy.

Schnatter had used the slur during a media training exercise in May, Forbes reported this week.

When the news of the call broke this week, shares in the pizza chain plummeted by 5.9 per cent, wiping $96.2million off its market value, and Schnatter announced he would resign as chairman.

During the call, he reportedly said "Colonel Sanders called blacks n--" and never faced backlash.

The fallout has already included Major League Baseball indefinitely suspending a promotion with Louisville, Kentucky-based Papa John's that offered people discounts at the pizza chain after a player hit a grand slam.

Schnatter has always been the face of the pizza brand, and the company has acknowledged in regulatory filings its business could be harmed if Schnatter's reputation was damaged. He apologized to her, adding that he didn't want to be a "distraction", she said.

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McConnell says he isn't aware of the contractual agreements on the stadium naming but expressed confidence that new university president Neeli Bendapudi would handle it "very well".

Laundry Service cut ties with Papa John's shortly after. Oh, no, it was the "derogatory and insensitive comments" - the fact that he said one particular no-no word.

After Forbes broke the story, Schnatter's name was swiftly removed from Nachand Fieldhouse in Jeffersonville, Ind., and a spokesperson with Papa John's confirmed to Insider Louisville Friday morning that the company is in the process of pulling Schnatter's image from its marketing and advertising. In addition to appearing in TV ads, Schnatter's image is on packaging and at the centre of a logo that is all over the company's website.

Last year, John blamed poor pizza sales on football players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racism in America. Several people told Friedland how inappropriate and hurtful his use of the word was.

Papa John's stock is up almost 3% Friday on the news.

The school has a deal that runs through 2040 with Schnatter himself and not the Papa John's brand, but if Schnatter leaves the company he can rename the building, according to ESPN.

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