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Papa John's founder apologises for using n-word during call

STEPPING DOWN: Papa John's founder John Schnatter (Photo credit: AP)

THE FOUNDER of popular pizza chain Papa John’s has stepped down from his role as chairman from the board after admitting saying the word n***** during a conference call.

Mr Schnatter has apologised after he used the racial slur in a training call with executives and marketing agency Laundry Service back in May.

According to the Evening Standard, the company announced that the disgraced founder would resign hours after he issued the apology for his comments.

Forbes had reported that Mr Schnatter used the slur during a media training exercise with a marketing group.

The call involved role-play exercised designed to give him experience dealing with difficult situations at work.

During the training he was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups and he complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word.

On Wednesday a statement released by Papa John's - based in Louisville, Kentucky - said Mr Schnatter admitted the reports of "inappropriate and hurtful" language used by him were true.

The company also said that it condemned “racism and any insensitive language”.

Laundry Service severed ties with Papa John’s at the end of May after the incident occurred. In a copy of a letter sent to staff obtained by Bloomberg, it said it would no longer be working with an unnamed client as a result of “regrettable recent events that several employees of Laundry Service witnessed during interactions with a client’s executive”.

Schnatter’s resignation as chair comes seven months after he stepped down as CEO of the company following comments about the NFL’s response to the kneeling protest. The Trump donor criticised the NFL for failing to stem the national anthem protests and claimed they were having a negative impact on his company’s sales.

In an earlier statement released in relation to the scandal, Schnatter said: “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true...Regardless of the context, I apologise. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”

Papa John’s fell 4.8 per cent on Wednesday, closing at the lowest level since February 2016. Since Schnatter’s comments on the NFL national anthem protests, the company’s stock has dropped around 30 per cent.

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