John Schnatter, the founder of popular pizza chain Papa John’s, reportedly used a racial slur during a conference call in May.
Schnatter has confirmed the incident in a statement to Forbes. The call was between executives of Papa John’s and a marketing agency after concerns were raised about sale due to the founder’s comments regarding their NFL sponsorship and the national anthem protests.
During the call, he reportedly made a comment saying “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,”in an attempt to downplay the effect of his comments on the image of the company. This, and other remarks alluding to his childhood in Indiana, were meant to convey his anti-racism sentiments, but were poorly received by the marketing agency.
Schnatter stated the following: “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” he said. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”