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Colleges Cut Ties with Papa John's Founder over Alleged Racist Remarks

Colleges Cut Ties with Papa John's Founder over Alleged Racist Remarks
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Colleges and universities nationwide are continuing to cut ties to John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John's Pizza, after he used a racial slur to describe black people. Even after resigning and issuing an apology, Schnatter accused the board for not "doing any investigation" and acting solely on "rumor and innuendo."

Schnatter admitted to using a highly offensive racial slur during a May conference call with digital marketing agency Laundry Service. The call was supposed to prepare him for the questions he may be asked by reporters. During the call, Schnatter was asked if he was racist, to which he replied "no." Then he "said something on the order of, Colonel Sanders used the word 'N,' (I actually used the word), that I would never use that word, and Papa John's doesn't use that word." Also detailed in his letter, Schnatter claims that the agency suggested Papa John's retain Kanye West to appear with him in ads and he "resisted that suggestion because Mr. West uses the 'N-word' in some songs."

"Regardless of the context," Schantter stated, "racism has no place in our society." The pizza chain has also distanced itself from the founder and pitchman, but Schnatter and his lawyers are now claiming that he was pressured to resign, which he claimed, "included an extortion attempt." Renouncing his position "was a mistake," he claims.

The University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Morehouse College, and Oregon State are some of the higher education institutions which have severed ties with Papa John's due to the "hurtful and unacceptable comments," which do not reflect the values of the universities. The University of Louisville will change its football stadium name from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium to Cardinal Stadium and also remove Schnatter's name from the Center for Free Enterprise at the College of Business. Other teams within large athletic organizations have also cut ties, including those within the MLB, NFL, NBA, and MLS.

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