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Papa John's founder resigns as chairman, company says

The pizza company chairman reportedly used an offensive term during a conference call.

Papa John's founder, John Schnatter, attends a meeting

Papa John's founder, John Schnatter, attends a meeting in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 18, 2017. Photo Credit: AP/Timothy D. Easley

Papa John's says founder John Schnatter has resigned as chairman of the board.

The company made the announcement late Wednesday, hours after Schnatter apologized for using a racial slur during a conference call in May.

The apology comes after Forbes cited an anonymous source saying the pizza chain's marketing firm broke ties with the company afterward.

Forbes said Schnatter used the N-word during a media training exercise. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word.

In a statement released by Louisville, Kentucky-based Papa John's, Schnatter said reports attributing use of "inappropriate and hurtful" language to him were true.

Earlier, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter was apologizing after reportedly using a racial slur during a conference call in May.

The apology Wednesday comes after Forbes cited an anonymous source saying the pizza chain’s marketing firm broke ties with the company afterward.

Forbes said Schnatter used a racially offensive term during a media training exercise. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word.

The University of Louisville also said Wednesday that Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees, effective immediately.

Schnatter stepped down as CEO last year after blaming slowing sales growth on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem. He remains chairman of the company he started when he turned a broom closet at his father’s bar into a pizza spot.

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