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Papa John Says He Regrets Resigning From Papa John's

Michael Hickey/Getty Images Entertainment

Papa John's Founder John Schnatter, who resigned from his post as company chairman after using a racial slur in a conference call, reportedly regrets the way he's severed ties with the pizza empire. 

Namely, Schnatter thinks it was a "mistake" to step down from the company he established in 1984 and built into a global pizza empire. He accused Papa John's board of jumping the gun by not thoroughly investigating the incident before asking him to resign. In a letter to the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, Schnatter said forces outside his control are sullying his "good name." 

“The board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so,” he said. “I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted.”

Schnatter's fall from the perch of Papa John's chairman has been swift since Forbesrevealed his use of the n-word during a media sensitivity training session with a marketing firm in May. In the aftermath, it was quickly announced that the sentient mascot is to be scrubbed from all promotional materials on Papa John's pizza boxes and restaurants, and shortly after, Schnatter was evicted from the company's headquarters in Louisville. Professional sports franchises have either suspended or entirely ended sponsorship deals with the embattled chain. 

Schnatter was previously the Papa John's CEO, but resigned from that position last year when his remarks about NFL national anthem protests garnered backlash. He had also drawn ire for remarks about the expense of giving Papa John's employees healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. 

It's worth unpacking just how Schnatter's remarks were used and how they sparked his latest brush with controversy. In a letter to the Papa John's board cited by the Journal, Schnatter was asked whether he holds racist views and answered "no."

Schnatter explained his actions during the call: “I then 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,” he said in his letter.

Schnatter remains on the Papa John's board. 

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Esquire. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster