John ‘Papa John’ Schnatter thinks it was a ‘mistake’ to resign after he said the n-word

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A week ago, John Schnatter resigned from the company he founded, cardboard pizza conglomerate Papa John’s. Schnatter resigned after several years of saying dumb sh-t about black people, from blaming President Obama for the state of the NFL, to blaming black football players for kneeling during the anthem, all of it to explain Papa John’s decreased sales (Papa John’s was one of the sponsors for the NFL). But that’s not why Schnatter resigned – he resigned because the company hired some crisis managers and PR people who were trying to help Schnatter be less of a racist douchebag. They were doing a conference call with him when he used the n-word and told a story about how he grew up watching lynchings in Ohio.

So, people were appalled. The details of the conference call leaked last week, and within 24 hours, Schnatter resigned from the company. But now he has regrets. He thinks his resignation was a “mistake,” you guys.

It seemed like a reasonable consequence: After using the n-word during a conference call in part about racial sensitivity, John “Papa John” Schnatter was forced to step down as board chair of the pizza chain. But a new report from Julie Jargon at the Wall Street Journal suggests that Schnatter doesn’t think he should have left his job last week.

The Wall Street Journal reviewed a letter to the directors in which Schnatter questioned the board’s request for him to resign. “The board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so,” he said. “I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted.”

In his letter, Schnatter admitted to using the n-word. As he put it, he was asked if he was racist, and he said “no,” adding, “I then said something on the order of, Colonel Sanders used the word ‘N,’ (I actually used the word), that I would never use that word, and Papa John’s doesn’t use that word.” (As Barry Petchesky at Deadspin pointed out, it’s not clear why Schnatter is convinced that Colonel Sanders, of KFC fame, used the n-word; there’s no good evidence for it.)

The Papa John’s board, for its part, doesn’t seem convinced. It has now barred Schnatter from using office space at the pizza chain’s corporate headquarters, has told him to no longer make media appearances for Papa John’s, and plans to remove him from the company’s products. But Schnatter is still arguing that his resignation as board chair was “a mistake” and that his “good name” may be “unfairly tainted.”

[From Vox]

Imagine being so racist that you’re like “Yes I did use the n-word but the real mistake was resigning for using the n-word!” This is like the #SorryNotSorry version of corporate America too – Papa John’s, as a company, would have been fine with Schnatter’s racism if he just said the n-word to friends and family. The fact that he said it to coworkers on a conference call is what made it “bad.” And no, it wasn’t a mistake to shove him out the door.

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Photos courtesy of Getty.

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41 Responses to “John ‘Papa John’ Schnatter thinks it was a ‘mistake’ to resign after he said the n-word”

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  1. Natalie S says:

    But now he has so much more time to hang out with Roseanne.

    Countdown to denying he said it and it was somehow all a joke…

    • Charlie says:

      When your crisis team quits you, your done.

      Any second thoughts are down to getting the same messages of support that Roseanne got.

      • Raina says:

        He looks like his pizza tastes; gross. He’s as greasy as his shitty pizza. It always had this nasty aftertaste for me. I realize now it was racism.
        Go away Pops.

  2. Jane says:

    The Food Network got rid of Paula Dean for using the same word. Did he expect a free pass for using the n- word? Dear God, what is wrong with him?

    • Betsy says:

      He took the illegitimate installation of Trump as a green light.

      • Snowflake says:


      • Tiffany :) says:

        It is so true that Trump is making bigots feel it is acceptable.

        In Atwater Village, which is a very diverse and progressive area of LA, there was a group called the “Proud Boys” (misogynistic white supremacists) who went to a local bar called The Griffin to cause trouble. They have apparently been doing this in parts of East LA, so now bar owners are having to make protocols for what to do in case hate groups gather at your bar.

        This is in Los Angeles! Crazy times we are living in.

      • Jane says:

        I certainly agree with you on this.

  3. Betsy says:

    If he’d used it to friends and family how would they have known?

    Also – what? I know that lynchings still happen, but what year is Schnatter from that he watched lynchings, plural, in Ohio? This map shows a few in Ohio, but not many and they happened by abou 1905. Did he witness some unsolved murders as a child? I’m not kidding – what the heck is he talking about? Did he mean the sad white boy version in which a white man who publicly uses the “n” word gets appropriately punished with loss of job and status?

    • Neelyo says:

      He grew up in Jefffersonville, Indiana. He’d recently donated money to their high school and his name was on the auditorium but they removed it. Not that one state over minimizes the horror of his story.

    • Cleo2 says:

      It’s bad enough this douche is dropping the n-word in meetings trying to help him be less racist and help his shareholders lose less money because he’s perceived as a racist…

      …but he then goes on to smear KFC and Colonel Sanders (where’s it been reported that Sanders said the n-word?) Not that I’d be surprised if he did sometime between the 1900s and the 80s when he died. The point is, that company has gone more than 5 or 6 decades without Sanders being smeared how and why does Schnatter get to do it with zero evidence?

      Also why’s he wholesale smearing Ohio?! Every state in the union has had racist incidents and still does. As far as lynching goes Indiana was one of the worst. Some of those historical pics of lynchings are actually IN Indiana. That said, what’s he talking about? When and where did it take place? Someone needs to do a follow up, because he’s either lying or covering up a crime. I will say, I’m black and my people go back about 6 generations in Ohio, southern Ohio to boot- and we’ve never heard about or seen a ‘lynching.’

      This dude is afflicted with the same sickness as Trump: extreme narcissism, a touch of the sociopath and yes, a racist.

    • Amy Too says:

      I thought the original article said that he claimed to have seen black men tied up and dragged behind people’s cars/trucks until they died when he was growing up. I don’t remember him saying that he saw lynchings. I don’t know how credible the dragging story is either though or how often that happened in the past 50 year or so. Probably more often than actual lynchings, though.

      • Cleo2 says:

        Oh, OK Amy. Did you think I was parsing my words about my black family going back 5-6 generations in Ohio and having never heard or seen a “lynching?” Did you think they (or me) HAD seen black people tied to bumpers with rope, dragged and killed…?

        No, not that either.

  4. GreenBunny says:

    And sorry, you can’t argue that you never say the word by actually using the word in the argument that you never use it. Doesn’t cancel out the word since the whole word came out of your mouth. That’s the equivalent of “I”m not a racist but” and something racist comes out of your mouth…. it makes you a racist still.

  5. Lyla says:

    Of course, we all know he merely forgot the “n’t” just like our fearless dotard.

    • Raina says:

      And, what TF is the obsession with using this word!? It’s so easy NOT to say something. Certain people are not allowed to use it period. If they do, they get what they get.
      He really put his pizza in his mouth this time 😝

  6. Esmom says:

    What little I’ve read about him leads me to believe it was probably long past time for him to go. He doesn’t get it. At all.

  7. kate says:

    It never cease to amaze me how much racism is a big part of the white, American experience. When is the white community going to acknowledge and denunce that sad state of affair?

  8. anniefannie says:

    This morons clocks been ticking since forever. I find it telling that on a company conference call he got outed. Something tells me this wasn’t an isolated incident and they’d had enough!
    The # of times of heard people say the most aggregious racist statements that are always followed by ” but I’m not racist!”I’d have more respect for these assholes if they owned it…

  9. Veronica S. says:

    “Resignation” is an interesting choice of words. It sounds more like it was a forced exist, and he was just allowed to use “resign” to save face. What face they thought he had left, I’m not sure.

    • Katy says:

      Speaking of face……he looks like a dead bloated white fish these days. I’ve been seeing recent pictures since he’s been outed as a racist jerk and he looks BAD!! And Veronica – he owns a big chunk of the company’s stock so this “resignation” is just a smoke screen.

  10. RBC says:

    I may be slammed for this, but I think it is a good thing when business people like this show their racist side to the world. That way I can take my hard earned dollars somewhere else and hopefully investors in these companies can force change as well by removing such garbage from representing the business.

    • Shambles says:

      I won’t slam you. It is a good thing. We need to know. As white folks, we all have racism somewhere in us since we have all benefitted from a racist system our whole lives. We need to know who’s proud of it and violent about it so we can make them pariahs and keep moving forward.

    • Veronica S. says:

      it’s better when it’s overt than when it’s coded, IMO. It’s insidious, systemic racism that’s really doing the worst damage to minorities than some jackass dropping the “n-word.” You can easily address the latter. The former takes far more work and effort to undo.

    • Snowflake says:

      I agree.

  11. Magdalin says:

    @Betsy – RIGHT?! He’s 56 years old. I started trying to figure out Schnatter’s age, because he cannot have been alive long enough to have witnessed an actual lynching in Ohio unless it’s some sort of unsolved case that no one knows about. Which is even crazier.

    I also heard he said that he’d witnessed black people dragged in the streets in Ohio. So, that’s plausible during the 60′s if he was a little kid.

    Just Yikes, all the way around.

  12. Tanesha86 says:

    So I had Pizza Hut for dinner last night and man, it was pretty good.

    • Dragonlady sakura says:

      😋 Pizza Hut over Papa Johns any day!

      • Katy says:

        I tried the Papa Johns near me once and I hated it! It barely had any toppings and I never ordered from them again. I’ve always wondered what the fuss was about.

    • Snowflake says:

      Hey, I did too

      • Sue says:

        My daughter vomited it the first time we ordered some 12 years ago. I was fine, we attributed it to a stomach flu. Sometime later, same thing happened after her school ordered it. For 10 years, anytime she sees their commercial she cringes due to those incidents. Now, she cringes because of his diarrhea of the mouth.

  13. Jess says:

    He is detestable and should have been gone a long time ago. His pizza has always been crap, however, so I’m not sure how this business ever survived.

  14. Snappyfish says:

    Years ago when he first came on the scene People mag did a piece on him. One of the photos was him in his pool w/his trainer. A v pretty young woman. It struck me as odd. So I always had a weird vibe about him. Yes he left his family & married that trainer. He said he wouldn’t raise the price of his pizza .70 cents in order to provide health care for his employees. That made him a pig. This is just icing on the cake. He is despicable. I’ve never purchased a pizza from Papa John & never will.

    • Christin says:

      His house (one of several he owns) is designed as a castle, with a MOAT. He’s lived a highly materialistic lifestyle since his 20s.

      After his healthcare comments, it will be sweet if he has to begin selling off his properties and possessions. That is what would hurt him most.

    • Tiffany says:

      When I use to order PJ’s pizza, I did everything online so they had me email address on file. I received a email about the news they refuse to raise the price of the pizza up a dollar to provide healthcare. They were trying to do serious damage control with that stupid explanation. There was a contact if there were any concerns.

      So I contacted them and said, ‘Raise the damn price so your employees can be healthy. I think I can swing a dollar increase.’ And I honestly believe that I was not the only one who sent that message.

      I never looked at the company the same again after that.

  15. Electric Tuba says:

    My first paying job was working at Papa Johns in high school lol lord those were some tiiiiimes. Thanks for pooping on that memory, all your employees, and the world ya dough faced idiot man child. My god people are terrible

  16. Liz version 700 says:

    I am grateful I won’t have to see his creepy racist face every 10 minutes while my husband is watching 18 hours of football a day. Go away and stay there.

  17. Grant says:

    Yikes, that face… Don’t stand too close to an open flame there, Johnny-boy!

  18. maggiegrace says:

    I live in Louisville. He owns half of this town. He is detestable. Second only to the other home-boy, Mitch.

  19. holly hobby says:

    Wow he sounds as deranged as the Nazi/Russian spy sitting in the people’s house. Maybe he can go cook for the Nazi.