John Schnatter claims he was “pushed” to use racial slur

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John Schnatter a/k/a Papa John saw his effort to restore his image implode this week, with the report from Forbes.com that he made racially inappropriate remarks during a conference call with a firm hired to help him turn around the way people view him. Instead of simply taking his lumps, counting his cash, and/or watching his shares of Papa John’s International, Inc. increase in value due to his departure from the company, Schnatter has some more things to say.

For starters, he says he was essentially nudged into using the racial slur that became the death knell for his time with the company he founded.

“Believe it or not . . . the agency was promoting that vocabulary, in that genre,” Schnatter said during a Friday interview with Terry Meiners of NewsRadio 840 WHAS. “And I made it real clear, ‘Listen, we’re not gonna go there, we’re not gonna talk about this.’ And they pushed me, and it upset me, and I just said, ‘Listen, other people have used that word. I don’t, and will not use that word and people at Papa John’s don’t use that.’ And that was the comment. But they actually wanted to get into that vocabulary, and I said absolutely not.

“And, of course, part of the comments where I said somebody else said it got printed and the part where I said I never say that and I wouldn’t say that and that’s not the way I was raised, that didn’t get in it. But shame on me for even bringing it up. But the point is, you can’t use that vocabulary, you can’t use that word, and we will not, and I’m not going to, and I have not.”

But Schnatter did use it, and he doesn’t deny that he used it. Even though he says he never uses it.

Meiners (who did a very good job asking a wide variety of probing questions during the 28-minute session) asked Schnatter if he was “duped” by the people who set up the training session, and whether there was something “nefarious” at work. In response, Schnatter didn’t specifically say that he’d been “set up” in advance, but he made it clear that he believes the firm leaked the story to Forbes.com after losing its relationship with Papa John’s. (According to the original item from Forbes.com, the Casey Wasserman-owned firm known as Laundry Service parted ways with Papa John’s, due to Schnatter’s comments during the conference call.)

At one point, Meiners directly posed to Schnatter the most obvious question about this entire debacle: “Why wouldn’t you have said, ‘I think that Colonel Sanders used the ‘N’ word’ instead of actually saying the word?”

“Well, I was just talking the way that the Colonel talked,” Schnatter said. “And, again, shame on me. And it wasn’t even done in the context of, ‘That’s 40, 50, 60 years ago.’ Because even back then, again, the way I was raised, you don’t talk that way.”

But, again, he did. Even though the radio interview was peppered with vague suggestions from Schnatter that maybe he didn’t say what he said, Schnatter admits that he said something that justified all of this. And it still remains to be seen where “all of this” leads, especially as it relates to Papa John’s partnerships with multiple NFL teams.

59 responses to “John Schnatter claims he was “pushed” to use racial slur

  1. I’m sure this clown has a lot of stock in the company, you’d think he’d just shut up and go away.

  2. Another entitled billionaire

    If you think some of the nfl owners dont use the same language when they are alone or in very private situatuions youre dreaming

  3. Maybe he becomes a rapper, they use the N word and never a threat to loose their jobs.

  4. Go away already. Take your lame pizza, bragging race car commercials, racist remarks, poor attempt of an excuse and finally your $870K in company Stock and Go!!

  5. This guy behaves just like our president. Always pointing the finger somewhere else. Buck up and take the blame yourself you waste of space.

  6. You build a company from the ground up. Then your comments get you thrown out the door of said company. Now you lie and say the company made you say “N….” as apart of business culture. Yeah right…smh

  7. We all saw the videos of the white cops shooting unarmed black folks, and there were multiple videos. Millions of white Americans just shrugged their shoulders and were hoping to sweep it under the rug, and that is why Colin Kaepernick decided to not let it go under the rug so easily. Schnatter was very vocal about his support of the white guys killing black guys. What he said, or might have said, or didn’t say, really doesn’t matter. He let us know his true feelings. It backfired on him, and now he’s blaming everyone but himself. Doesn’t that sound familiar? But also, Schnatter is only part of that snake with millions of heads. You can cut off one, but there are still millions left, and they are seated on juries every day and they’re registered to vote. Schnatter still gets to vote.

  8. Whether or not he thinks he was pushed into saying it, he’s a complete idiot for using the word on a CONFERENCE CALL. How stupid is that?

  9. I’ll give him an A for Chutzpah.
    It wasn’t my fault, I was pushed to do such and such.
    I can’t wait to try this out next time I get in trouble.
    I report back here how it works out for me.

  10. If he just came out and admitted he’s a closet racist, he would at least have the distinction of being the first racist to admit as much.

    This float that an all-powerful CEO was bull-rushed by an image rehab firm he hired is right up there with the dog ate my homework. That he continues to try and rationalize rather than just going away speaks to his lack of self-awareness and entitlement.

  11. So, who’s hurt Papa John’s sales more in the last year
    A: NFL players taking a knee
    B: John Schnatter

    Don’t bother looking for the numbers, we all know the answer

  12. He is getting Jimmy ‘The Greek’-ed.

    He was talking about how Colonel Sanders used the word and nothing was done or said about that. Unless you are a rap ‘singer’ or down with that culture, you cannot use that word or else you will get Papa John-ed.

    “Colonel Sanders called blacks (n word),” Schnatter reportedly said.

  13. Poor guy. Blacks use that word daily. I haven’t seen a black comic NOT use that word. It’s in almost every rap song.

    One white guy uses it and his life is ruined.

    This country just loves a double standard.

  14. charger383 says:
    July 15, 2018 at 11:28 am
    why can’t pizza makes talk like rappers?

    You are lucky the U.S. does not have an official language, though I’m sure you voted for it locally

  15. This is all beyond bizarre. I am an old white guy from NH, but have lived all over the world including South American. My ex-wife from Bogata called the lower class Indians because they didn’t speak Spanish with a Castilian lisp. I lived & worked in St Pete Florida & Clearwater. One time I worked in the black neighborhood north of Gulf to Bay. 100% of the customers were black. My point, never once did I think nor was tempted to use the N word. I moved to Knoxville & my brother in law used the word often even though he was part Indian. LOL. Was he a bad person – No. But he was just raised that way & this was in the 80’s. I think we can all agree no one needs to or should use any racial slurs. I think Papa John needs some new advisors or maybe just shut up & go away. Talk about digging yourself deeper.

  16. Personally so sick of this story. Such a public figure surely understands that saying one thing like he did on record in front of witnesses, is enough ammunition for your public image to be beaten to an unrecognizable pulp.

    It doesn’t matter the context, when will people like this learn? His personal views hopefully aren’t in line with the use of that word. You hope it is a mistake that does not indicate is true views and attitudes, but all we can do is speculate on that.

    Having said that, the double standard with the n-word is very frustrating. If it is wrong and offensive (which it is), it should not be normalized by being used so regularly by a group that is offended by it. Black people using it for fun shouldn’t lead to white people using it more, but to me it seems like it does.

    It makes sense why people use it all the time in a non-derogatory way within the black community, but it would be nice if it was just left as a word that is kind of off limits. Not legally restricted, but a clearer social standard the word is inappropriate, hopefully would lead to less cavalier use of the word that gets stirred into the muck of racial tension that exists. There are enough real challenges to sort out.

  17. “Blacks use that word daily. I haven’t seen a black comic NOT use that word…One white guy uses it and his life is ruined”.

    African-Americans use of the word does allow, excuse, or justify a white person using the word. As a white person, you do not get to dictate how a race that was treated in a subhuman manner by your race uses the word.

  18. You can’t say the word in a private meeting that is specifically set up to discuss the use of such words? You people are such pansies. This happened in May, and comes to light in July? If anyone at that meeting was truly offended, which given the context is ridiculous, then it would have been revealed the same week. I still say those who released it shorted the stock first in order to cash in.

  19. All I can think of is the movie “Back to School” where Sam Kinison screams at Rodney Dangerfield when Rodney hesitates to answer a test question:

    “SAY IT! SAY IT!”

  20. Casca’s friend says:
    July 15, 2018 at 11:20 am
    He is getting Jimmy ‘The Greek’-ed.

    He was talking about how Colonel Sanders used the word and nothing was done or said about that. Unless you are a rap ‘singer’ or down with that culture, you cannot use that word or else you will get Papa John-ed.

    “Colonel Sanders called blacks (n word),” Schnatter reportedly said.
    ——————————————————————————————
    So, Colonel Sanders is the moral standard? This idea is as bad as the suggestion that rappers or comedians should set the standard of behavior.

  21. cardinealsfan20
    Jul 15, 2018, 10:04 AM CST
    “Blacks use that word daily. I haven’t seen a black comic NOT use that word…One white guy uses it and his life is ruined”.

    African-Americans use of the word does allow, excuse, or justify a white person using the word. As a white person, you do not get to dictate how a race that was treated in a subhuman manner by your race uses the word.

    —————

    This is a good point. This is how it should be. “How it should be”and “how it is” sadly are separated in our world by a long ways in our world it seems.

    If the results we are looking for is less white people using the term, and black people using it less leads to white people using it less; would that not be a worthy reason for black people to use it less?

    (Assumption here is that the more the a word is used, the more it is normalized. The more you hear a word, the more likely you are to speak it. I could be wrong in this assumption though.)

  22. He’s kind of a clown who makes awful pizza. But leaking (out of context no less) what he said was not done by anyone who was really concerned about racist remarks- it would have been leaked by someone, or some entity, that wanted him out of the company once and for all.

    It’s pretty clear from a business standpoint what actually happened.

    Guy still gives me the creeps though.

  23. It’s a term of endearment for African Americans but let one white person utter it and all hell breaks lose. SMH?

  24. Papa John’s is the closet pizza store to me. First I don’t like the taste of Papa John’s pizza. Second I don’t condone his comments. I will travel further away to get my pizza fix!
    Papa John’s need to just close their stores and disappear into the night!

  25. So he used the full term , mind you not in a derogatory way, instead of saying “ N word”. What the fudge is wrong with our society. That word is now off limits even to say it as just a word. Wow we all suck. Why we’ve let a few people control the narrative is beyond comprehension. The guy did nothing wrong. We all know it.

  26. Schnatter is not a victim. His words reflect a part of him that he’s done his best to keep out of the public spotlight. And if this was really an issue that he finds personally offensive and personally hurtful, then he’d being going out of his way to reach out to the people hurt by his word choice – making sure that his relationship with those communities hadn’t changed.

    But, he doesn’t have any connections in black or latino communities and, aside from an occasional franchise owner, he doesn’t have many friends in those communities. His friends are other people like him who still haven’t figured out the culture has shifted.

    Schnatter is definitely not a victim here.

  27. It seems that some white people are upset the blacks can use the “N” word but they can’t. Well, you should feel free to use the word any time you like when you are in the presence of black people. Don’t let anyone supress your right to say anything you like. See how that works out for you.

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