Papa John’s to pull founder’s image from ads
NEW YORK — 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.
His face was off at least some materials Friday, though the Louisville, Ky.based company said the details and timing for everything were still being worked out. The pizza chain said there are no plans to change its name.
The fallout continued Friday.
The University of Louisville said it will remove the Papa John’s name from its football stadium, and that it will rename the John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at its business college.
Major League Baseball had also said it was indefinitely suspending a promotion with Papa John’s.
This week, Papa John’s was already trying to fur- ther publicly distance itself from Schnatter after Forbes reported he used the Nword during a conference call in May. Schnatter apologized and said he would resign as chairman. That prompted the company’s stock to recover some of the losses it suffered after the report. The stock closed at $53.55, down .02 percent, Friday.
Schnatter had used the slur during a media training exercise, Forbes said. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word. In a radio interview with WHAS in Louisville on Friday, Schnatter said he was “just talking the way that the Colonel talked.” But, “I said it, and it’s wrong,” he said.
Schnatter subsequently issued a statement acknowledging the use of “inappropriate and hurtful” language. “Regardless of the context, I apologize,” the statement said.
Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has been the face of the Louisville, Ky.-based pizza chain, but that era is ending.