John Schnatter, founder and former CEO of Papa John's said in a televised interview he's spent the last two years working to get rid of racist language from his vocabulary.
This was announced in an interview with right-wing One America News (OAN).
Papa John’s ex-CEO says he’s been working for the last 20 months “to get rid of this N-word in my vocabulary” (h/t… https://t.co/JVeIvGospn— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1615225970.0
In 2018, Schnatter stepped down from the board of Papa John's after a report of him using the n-word during a conference call was written in Forbes.
He later confirmed the accuracy of the article and then resigned from his position with the company.
For years, Schnatter had been the person featured in ads for the pizza franchise. In recent years NBA champion and Hall of Famer and Papa John's franchisee Shaquille O'Neal took over that role.
In March of 2019, Papa John's International announced O'Neal would join the company's board of directors as its first Black board member. Shortly after O'Neal—an investor in nine Atlanta area restaurants—began his tenure as the new face of Papa John's.
Now Schnatter is claiming the whole situation was a hit piece and he plans to try and get his company back through efforts like taking almost two years of work to stop using racial slurs.
@RicoSuaveJD @Phil_Lewis_ @mount_bees I don't think in my 60 years on this earth I have said this word, even in lyr… https://t.co/cjEjxf2OuQ— Lauzoo (@Lauzoo) 1615231816.0
@RexChapman @Phil_Lewis_ @mount_bees nothin' like going on OAN to remove any doubts of racism...WTF— Union Viper (@Union Viper) 1615229949.0
@patriottakes @Phil_Lewis_ @mount_bees People learn entire languages in less time...that’s one savage burn....— Chrono Faber (@Chrono Faber) 1615251202.0
On OAN—a far-right news network favored by Donald Trump—Schnatter tries to make the case everything was a set-up by the marketing agency and his board of directors. The anchor asks Schnatter what he thought about seeing articles and headlines "smearing [his] good name."
The former pizza mogul responded:
"Unbelievable. I couldn't understand it. You have a public board that paints its chairman—complicit, passive, or active—they paint the founder as a racist."
"They know he's not a racist."
He then said he's had 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."
People weren't exactly convinced.
How did the N-word got in your vocab to begin with 🤔 https://t.co/M1cXhLZON0— Loso Chamberlain 🧤 (@Loso Chamberlain 🧤) 1615297889.0
20 MONTHS?! Who was his tutor, Prince Charles? https://t.co/QlQ6vcNsCf— Sheldon Johnson (@Sheldon Johnson) 1615259316.0
Wow. If you’re still working on not using racist language after 20 months, you’re a racist. I never even heard that… https://t.co/vGpMWw4fOU— Rebekah Radisch (@Rebekah Radisch) 1615270198.0
Schnatter's woes started in 2017, when he decried the public protest of football players such as Colin Kaepernick during the National Anthem. At the time, Papa John's was the official pizza of the NFL and Schnatter blamed poor pizza sales on the movement.
The bad press after his comments was what the conference call was for. Schnatter and other Papa John's executives were talking with a marketing agency when he was asked how he planned to distance himself from racist groups and supporters.
He tried to downplay his comments by comparing his actions to another fast-food founder who didn't face public rebuke.
He reportedly said:
"Colonel Sanders called Blacks [n-words]."
Schnatter apologized for the usage, defending himself by claiming he wasn't personally using it as an epithet in that statement. He resigned from his position, but now sees that as a mistake.
The whole situation has made Schnatter the focus of online humor.
*Papa John's after 20 months of not saying the N-Word* Customer: Can I get oil and vinegar dressing on my salad? Pa… https://t.co/89xBNjT3y5— 𝙃𝙀𝙉𝙍𝙄 (@𝙃𝙀𝙉𝙍𝙄) 1615312622.0
papa john ate 40 pizzas in 30 days all while fighting a crippling n-word addiction. it's not enough to set goals, w… https://t.co/S5MeBLKA41— Desus Nice (@Desus Nice) 1615257520.0
20 months for the Papa John’s man to learn how to remove the N-woid from his vocabulary ain’t so bad. It’s taken me… https://t.co/DXUSNc7n7T— Jhonen Vasquez (@Jhonen Vasquez) 1615329103.0
Fun Fact: Papa John was actually sweating during this one infamous interview because he had to go over 30 minutes w… https://t.co/UjaDlq1uja— Right Wing Cope (@Right Wing Cope) 1615238513.0
Schnatter also claimed a "day of reckoning" would come for those who ousted him in a bizarre BBC interview. He also claimed to have ordered 40 pizzas over 30 days to test their quality and found them lacking.
The whole situation has enraptured the internet, as Schnatter seems to spiral down, consistently putting his foot in his mouth.