The "news reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true," Papa John's founder and chairman John Schnatter said in a statement Wednesday, effectively confirming a Forbes report that he used the N-word in a conference call with the firm he'd hired to resuscitate his image. "Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society." On Wednesday night, Papa John's said the board of directors had accepted Schnatter's resignation as chairman and would replace him "in the coming weeks."
Schnatter, the public face of Papa John's, reportedly complained on the call with marketing company Laundry Service about his forced resignation as chief executive last year after saying the NFL's handling of anthem-kneeling players had hurt Papa John's bottom line. KFC founder "Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s" and never faced any consequences, he said, according to Forbes. Schnatter, 54, also resigned from the University of Louisville board of trustees. He is still the largest shareholder in the pizza company he founded in 1984, controlling 29 percent of its stocks. Papa John's shares closed down 4.8 percent on Wednesday. Peter Weber