According to a report from Forbes, the owner of the Papa John’s pizza empire, John Schnatter, rankled a group of marketing executives when he used the n-word during a May conference call.
Forbes reports that the call was set up for Schnatter to speak with execs from a marketing agency called Laundry Service, who were attempting to help Schnatter navigate the PR crisis he’d created when he stupidly blamed his company’s declining profits on the fact that a few NFL players had decided to stage peaceful protests at games. It appears that the call went off the rails and led to Laundry Services severing its relationship with Schnatter:
On the May call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online. He responded by downplaying the significance of his NFL statement. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n——-s,” Schnatter allegedly said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash.
Schnatter also reflected on his early life in Indiana, where, he said, people used to drag African-Americans from trucks until they died. He apparently intended for the remarks to convey his antipathy to racism, but multiple individuals on the call found them to be offensive, the source said. After learning about the incident, Laundry Service owner Casey Wasserman moved to terminate the company’s contract with Papa John’s.
It’s always good when the public-facing celebrity founder of a company repeatedly demonstrates a complete inability to avoid shooting his own dick off. And to give this story a properly grim ending, Forbes reports that Laundry Services recently had to lay off 10 percent of its workforce due to financial pressures partly caused by the loss of Papa John’s as a client.