Papa John’s Pizza founder allegedly used N-word

Papa John’s Pizza’s vocal chairman, John Schnatter, is under fire again. The pizza chain and man who founded it are on the defensive after a media report allleged Schnatter used a racial slur and graphically described violence against minorities during a conference call with a media agency in May. 

The media company working with Papa John’s opted to end its business relationship with the pizza company after the call, according to Forbes. The publication reported the alleged objectionable behavior took place on a call intended as a role-playing exercise for Schnatter on avoiding racially charged mishaps in the future.

A Papa John’s spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the report, but said in an emailed statement that the company “condemns racism and any insensitive language, not matter the situation or setting.”

The controversy comes only seven months after Schnatter relinquished his CEO role after criticizing National Football League players for kneeling during the national anthem, blaming the outcry surrounding their protests for slowing sales growth at Papa John’s, at the time an NFL sponsor and advertiser.

On the May call, Schnatter allegedly said the N-word while complaining that other fast-food chain founders had used the word in the past without being subjected to public backlash. He also allegedly reflected on his childhood in Indiana, saying people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died, according to Forbes.

Shares of Papa John’s Pizza (PZZA) fell nearly 6 percent after the report, and were lately down 2.4 percent.

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