Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Very Real

Papa John's Founder Kicked Out Of Office Amid N-Word Scandal, Claims He Was 'Pushed' To Say It

Following reports that founder John Schnatter used the N-word in a meeting, Papa John's has gone to great lengths to distance itself from him.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Repercussions have been swift for Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, who became a subject of controversy this month after reports emerged that he’d used a racial slur during a conference call.

Schnatter first resigned as Papa John’s CEO last year after his comments concerning NFL protests were met with significant backlash, and he came under fire yet again after Forbes reported on July 11 that the 56-year-old entrepreneur used the N-word during a conference call in May.

Schnatter confirmed the story in a statement to CNN and later resigned as chairman, according to a press release the company shared on Thursday. Schnatter has since been kicked out of his office at Papa John's headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, according to a press release the company published on Sunday.

A special committee of the company’s board of directors came to the decision that because Schnatter no longer has an active role with the management of the company’s business, “a sublease agreement granting Schnatter the right to use office space at the company’s headquarters has been terminated,” the release stated.

Schnatter will no longer be a spokesperson for Papa John’s, and the company has requested that he “cease all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees,” according to the release.

The company also stated that the special committee intends to oversee the investigation into the company’s “processes, policies, and systems” related to diversity.

The decision comes after the pizza chain began removing Schnatter’s image from the company’s marketing materials on Friday, the Associated Press reports.

During an interview with Louisville radio station NewsRadio 840 WHAS on Friday, Schnatter claimed that the marketing agency executives that arranged the media training-via-conference call pushed him into using the slur.

“The agency was promoting that vocabulary . . . and I made it real clear, ‘Listen, we’re not gonna go there, we’re not gonna talk about this,’” he said. “And they pushed me. And it upset me, and I just said, ‘Listen, other people have used that word. I don’t and will not use that word, and people of Papa John’s don’t use that.’”

[Photo: John Schnatter arrives at the 47th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards on April 1, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. By Angela Weiss/ACMA2012/Getty Images for ACM]