Papa John's to pull John Schnatter from marketing

Annette Crawford
July 13, 2018

Papa John's plans to pull founder John Schnatter's image from marketing materials following reports he used a racial slur.

Mr Schnatter quit as chief executive a year ago after criticising the NFL over players' national anthem protests.

Schnatter has always been the face of the brand, and the company has acknowledged in regulatory filings its business could be harmed if Schnatter's reputation was damaged.

Schnatter, 56, also resigned from his position on the University of Louisville's board of trustees, effective immediately, according to the school.

According to a report published by The Associated Press on Friday, the pizza chain confirmed that it will be pulling Schnatter's face from advertisements as the company moves to publicly distance itself from its founder following reports on Wednesday that he used the N-word during a conference call in May.

Shares of Papa John's, one of the country's largest pizza delivery chains, fell about 5 percent in premarket trading Thursday in the wake of Schnatter's resignation from the board. It was still there as of Friday morning.

Keith Hollingsworth, a professor with Morehouse College's business department, said keeping Schnatter in the marketing and advertising would signal to people that the company does not have a problem with his comments, or that it doesn't think they are a big deal. "But at the moment, you have to be very decisive and show you take this very seriously", Hollingsworth said.

Mr Schnatter, the company's former chairman, had used the racial slur in a conference call in May.

"Regardless of the context, I apologize", the statement said.

Major League Baseball also suspended its "Papa Slam" promotion with the company - which provided fans a 40 percent discount on online orders the day after a grand slam was hit during a major league game - Yahoo Sports reported on Wednesday.

Papa John's is the world's third-largest pizza chain, with more than 350 outlets in the United Kingdom and 4,900 restaurants worldwide.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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