Papa John tries to make a comeback, fails badly

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John Schnatter, a red-shirt-wearing assembly-line pizza mogul who made himself into the face of the fast-food chain he built, fell out of favor at his own corporation in the aftermath of last year’s Jerry Jones-instigated misadventures with the NFL. Now, Schnatter is trying to get back to the top of the ladder he built.

It’s not going well.

Via Noah Kirsch of Forbes.com, Schnatter had hired Laundry Service, a marketing firm owned by Casey Wasserman, to assist with the comeback effort. According to the report, a May conference call that addressed the manner in which Schnatter would distance himself from online racist groups, Schnatter complained that Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders used the “N” word in reference to African-Americans without scrutiny or consequence. While doing so, Schnatter himself used the “N” word, instead of merely saying, “The ‘N’ word.”) Schnatter also reportedly “reflected on his early life in Indiana, where, he said, people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died.”

Although Schnatter apparently was trying to show that he’s opposed to racism (gutsy move, John), multiple persons on the call found Schnatter’s remarks to be offensive. When Wasserman learned of the remarks, he terminated the relationship with Papa John’s.

Said Papa John’s in a statement to Forbes.com: “Papa John’s condemns racism and any insensitive language, no matter the situation or setting. . . . We take great pride in the diversity of the Papa John’s family, though diversity and inclusion is an area we will continue to strive to do better.”

The comparison to Colonel Sanders is nonsensical; the use of the “N” word (unfortunately) was rampant during the bulk of Sanders’ lifetime, which began in 1890 and ended in 1980. It was part of the cultural reality (unfortunately) of life in America, especially in the south. That doesn’t make it right, but it demonstrates why someone like Sanders could use the word during a specific time in history without facing any type of widespread reaction or punishment.

And even if Sanders did or didn’t experience consequences for his language, what does that have to do with John Schnatter? It’s weird and it’s bizarre and given that “Papa John” was trending on Twitter for much of the day, this latest unforced error becomes yet another indication that his company will continue to struggle.

Shares of Papa John’s International, Inc. are down 1.39 as of this posting, at 49.40. The 52-week high is 81.09, and the stock is approaching its 52-week low of 47.80.

41 responses to “Papa John tries to make a comeback, fails badly

  1. Well this is what they meant by make America great again. The ability to say things like this without consequences is what made America great for certain people. They lose that privilege and want it back.

  2. Schnatter wanted to be the face of the business and it worked–for a while.

    If he would have just stuck to pushing pizzas, he would have been fine. Dragging his company into controversial areas was just plain stupid. Schnatter may not be a racist, but his clumsy talking points don’t do anything to remove suspicion that he is exactly that.

  3. Its doesn’t matter anyway the pizza is over priced! You order a pizza then they throw in a delivery fee which the drivers never get then you have to tip! Before you know you have spent over $30 on a large 3 topping pizza! I will stick with digiorno!

  4. Papa John’s is losing money because they aren’t matching the competition’s prices. Their app also sucks compared to the red roof guys. I can order my normal order thru the red roof app in 30 seconds by pushing like 4 buttons. It saves my card info and everything…hell I do it poolside while the kids are swimming…

  5. Just another racist who tries to mask behind values that don’t exists. He thought he would hurt the NFL by leaving taking away his sponsorship and another garbage pizza place replaced him giving more money. Glad he is going down. He showed the type of person he is.

  6. “The comparison to Colonel Sanders is nonsensical; the use of the “N” word (unfortunately) was rampant during the bulk of Sanders’ lifetime, which began in 1890 and ended in 1980. It was part of the cultural reality (unfortunately) of life in America, especially in the south. That doesn’t make it right, but it demonstrates why someone like Sanders could use the word during a specific time in history without facing any type of widespread reaction or punishment.”

    I agree with this logic and reasoning. I just wish some jerks in this country would apply the same thinking when they want to destroy statues of past prominent American historical figures.

  7. Makes you wonder about the real feelings of his former partner, Peyton Manning. You know the saying, “birds of a feather”. Dude is a straight up bigot. Under normal circumstances wouldn’t someone shove a mic in front of Peyton for a statement?

    Then and again, Peyton was given a pass on sexual harassment and HGH use. Those topics just vanished.

  8. I agree with this logic and reasoning. I just wish some jerks in this country would apply the same thinking when they want to destroy statues of past prominent American historical figures.
    ——–
    The difference is that those people you call “American historical figures” wanted to end America. Literal traitors to America. They wanted to destroy America to start their own country. A museum or monuments on personal property would be within your rights as an American. But to have monuments of traitors to America on taxpayer funded federal property….that should have never happens in the first place. It would literally be no different than having a Hitler statue at your local library. That should never happen.

  9. It was over when Peyton cashed out his pizza franchises. Those guys will do anything, even blow up an NFL draft, for an extra nickel.

  10. Papa John is a loud and proud evangelical Christian. Like all of them, his beliefs and actions in no way resemble those reportedly held by Jesus Christ. If those people are Christ-like, I’m a Martian.

  11. Peyton owned 24 PJ franchises in Colorado. Following Schnatter’s remarks, he immediately sold all of them back to the franchisor to distance himself from the company.

  12. Makes you wonder about the real feelings of his former partner, Peyton Manning. You know the saying, “birds of a feather”. Dude is a straight up bigot. Under normal circumstances wouldn’t someone shove a mic in front of Peyton for a statement?

    Then and again, Peyton was given a pass on sexual harassment and HGH use. Those topics just vanished.

    Can we vette every one you ever talk to so we can determine what type of person you must be?

  13. “The difference is that those people you call “American historical figures” wanted to end America. Literal traitors to America. They wanted to destroy America to start their own country. A museum or monuments on personal property would be within your rights as an American. But to have monuments of traitors to America on taxpayer funded federal property….that should have never happens in the first place. It would literally be no different than having a Hitler statue at your local library. That should never happen.”

    I can’t get behind this reasoning, esp comparing someone like Robert E Lee to Adolph Hitler. Robert E Lee was a West Point graduate who was offered the leadership of the Union Army. He struggled mightily with the decision to serve state of Virginia over the country. He did not commit atrocities like Hitler, nor wage years of subversion and disinformation.

    Brothers against Brothers is a tough war and we still live with it in many ways. But for me, that doesn’t eq

  14. So many folks love to jump to conclusions based on their political bent and some just love to be victims. Maybe, just maybe, before commenting on what was said some idiots would read the full transcript of what was said and then decide . One snippet is released by a “source” without attribution which means they have an agenda. He may have been offensive but we don’t know the full story. If he was then he should be booted but commenting on things you have no idea about is idiocy

  15. When you hire an image-rehab firm named “Laundry Service”, you’re pretty much admitting you’ve reduced your career to that of a dirty rug.

    Wonder if he still has the time to stew about the NFL players kneeling.

  16. Wow, that sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit, not a real life press conference.

  17. When a business gets involved in politics or a person talks about race, they always end up regretting it.

  18. He took a hit doing Jerry Jones a solid. Maybe now it’s Jerry’s turn to come out in support.

  19. I doubt he’s a racist, but he’s definitely an idiot.

    Who the hell actually believes his crappy pizza uses better ingredients?

  20. His pizza sucks, its been said and everyone knows it. I dont care what happened in what era. It’s 2018, people know what’s what, or they should. Talking about how “black people were dragged behind trucks in my day” as an excuse, for anything, just shows you are terribly stupid. Period. Or saying “well colonel Sanders used the N word”. I keep wondering how somebody this stupid made anything of himself, it’s not like he was born into like POTUS. This should be inspiration to all that no matter how wretchedly stupid you are, you too can make millions selling pizza.

  21. idiedpretty says:
    July 11, 2018 at 2:43 pm
    Peyton owned 24 PJ franchises in Colorado. Following Schnatter’s remarks, he immediately sold all of them back to the franchisor to distance himself from the company.
    ————————————————————————————–

    Peyton didn’t own those franchises, they were his wife’s!!

  22. I mean, I guess you can say the N-word as much as you want and talk about how they dragged black people through the streets way back – both of which are unacceptable acts – but, there’s a price to pay – so, you know – speak up, Johnny, let’s hear more of your right wing, morally superior idiocy – meanwhile, your pizza sucks and quite frankly you suck

  23. I don’t agree or suggest that anyone should deliberately choose words to offend others, but “political correctness” is a corrosive force in society as well. It’s an attempt to control free speech in general, and it is, therefore, an effort to control the thoughts of those who might disagree with the current political dogma.

  24. Another example of political correctness run amuck. You can’t even quote another person’s words anymore, you need to speak in code. Idiotic beyond belief.

    With that being said, his pizzas sucked.

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