Economy

Papa John's founder: Stepping down as chairman a 'mistake'

Papa John's founder: Stepping down as chairman a 'mistake'

Last week, Papa John's founder John Schnatter resigned as the chairman of Papa John's worldwide, after a news report published inForbes claimed he used the N-word on a conference call in May.

Schnatter says the board requested that he step down as chairman without "any investigation" and he should not have complied, according to a letter his representative says was sent to the board Saturday.

But in a recent letter to The Wall Street Journal, Schnatter said his resignation was a mistake.

Though the company still plans to keep the name Papa John's, its CEO, Steve Ritchie, said in a statement the company never centered around Schnatter.

Schnatter apologized for using the racial slur and announced his decision to step down last week.

Oregon State University's athletic department has suspended its sponsor relationship with Papa John's Pizza.

Some board members want Schnatter - who owns about 30 percent of the company's stock - to leave the board altogether, Schnatter wrote in his letter.

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"They made it pretty clear, the words were, "If I don" t get my f-ing money, I'm going to bury the founder, ' said one of the executives", Schnatter said in the WLKY interview. 'I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted'.

John Schnatter says a media agency tried to extort after he used the n-word during a conference call with them in May.

Schnatter reportedly said in his letter that he had insisted in the call that he was not racist.

Schnatter said the discussion only started when he objected to the agency's suggestion of hiring rapper Kanye West as brand spokesman because West "uses the "N" word in his lyrics". "We're not gonna talk about this, '" Schnatter told Louisville radio station WHAS.

Schnatter has said that he thought the call was confidential.

"The company has specifically requested that Mr. Schnatter cease all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees", it said in a statement late Sunday.