Papa John’s founder resigns as chairman after apologizing for racial slur

The founder of Papa John’s resigned from his position as chairman of the pizza chain’s board of directors, just hours after he apologized for using a racial slur during a company conference call earlier this year.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company announced late-Wednesday night it had accepted John Schnatter’s resignation, saying it planned to replace him in the coming weeks.

Schnatter, 56, also resigned from his position on the University of Louisville’s board of trustees, effective immediately, according to the school. He had served on the board for two years.

His resignations came after Forbes reported that he used the N-word during a May conference call while discussing the national anthem protests in the NFL.

“Colonel Sanders called blacks n——,” Schnatter said, referring to Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Harland Sanders, according to the Forbes report.

He also reportedly complained that Sanders never faced public backlash for using the slur.

Schnatter confirmed the allegations in a statement Wednesday and apologized for his use of “inappropriate and hurtful language.”

“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” he said. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”

Schnatter stepped down from his role as CEO late last year after saying NFL players should stand for the national anthem and that their protests had hurt the company’s sales.

Shares of Papa John’s, one of the country’s largest pizza delivery chains, fell about 5 percent in premarket trading Thursday in the wake of Schnatter’s resignation from the board.

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