Why People Are Upset With Papa John Once Again

Out of the frying pan into the bonfire? The ex-CEO of Papa John's, John Schnatter, resigned in 2018, after widespread reports that he'd used the N-Word while on a conference call with his publicity firm, Laundry Service (via The Guardian). It wasn't a one-off thing. Followers of the scandal will remember that when Papa John's partnered with the NFL in 2017,  Schnatter complained that his sales were dropping as a result of NFL team players' decision to kneel in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The same year, a "far-right" media platform named Papa John's pizza the "official pizza of the alt-right" (via Newsweek). 

On the 2018 call in question, after being "asked if he would distance himself from racist groups," Schnatter replied by complaining that "Colonel Sanders called blacks n*****s," without any significant backlash (via Forbes). In the call's immediate aftermath, Schnatter copped to having used the racist slur. Now, Schnatter is walking back on his apology.

In a recent interview, Schnatter told a One America News Network journalist that he was in a "state of shock" when he heard the 2018 headlines and that he "couldn't understand it" (via Twitter). He furthermore denied being racist, while simultaneously outlining his "three goals for the last 20 months: to get rid of this N-word in my vocabulary and dictionary, and everything else, because it's just not true, figure out how they did this, and get on with my life." As for Twitter? It's seeing red. 

Twitter is outraged over John Schnatter's latest interview

"Nothing says "I'm f***ing racist" like admitting it takes you 20 months to try and get the n-word out of your mouth, and in the same breath say that you're getting smeared as a racist," remarked one Twitter user after watching a clip of the interview. "He only started trying 20 months ago? Like... in 2019?" questioned another. "He keeps saying 'they did this' he thinks he is the victim. He hasn't learned sh*** he is just learning not to get caught," wrote a third.

Schnatter's most recent press appearance is part of his self-driven publicity effort to prove that Laundry Service was actively conspiring against him during the 2018 phone call. In a press statement that Schnatter released on March 3, 2021, the former Papa John's CEO demands that "it's time for Laundry Service to be held accountable, and for Papa John's to correct the record and apologize to me for validating the media frenzy that led to my forced departure as the company Chairman" (via PR Newswire).