Papa John’s founder John Schnatter tossing a pizza crust. | Courtesy of Business Wire

Nope: John Schnatter, founder and chairman of Papa John’s International, resigned as chairman this week after using a racial slur on a conference call, says The Washington Post, The New York Times, PBS and CNN.

Early Wednesday morning, Forbes posted a story alleging the pizza mogul used a slur during a call between Papa John’s and the marketing firm Laundry Service. The firm was working with Schnatter to improve his media savviness following his comments regarding NFL protests by players, which Schnatter claimed hurt business and should have been “nipped in the bud.”

The NFL comments were applauded by white supremacist groups, which hurt business, and resulted in Schnatter resigning as CEO.

On the Laundry Service call, during a role-playing exercise, Mr. Schnatter was asked how he would separate himself from racist groups online. He reportedly said, “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s” and never faced any backlash for it. He would later go on to describe his childhood in Indiana, saying people would drag African-Americans from trucks until they died.

Those remarks may have been intended to show his disdain for racism, but that’s not how some on the call took it, according to Forbes story.

I couldn’t find the Colonel Sanders quote or a story revolving around him saying it, so I’m not sure exactly what he’s referencing. But even so, Colonel Sanders was born in 1890 and died almost 40 years ago. We’re past that. Or at least we’re supposed to be.

Later that afternoon, Schnatter released a statement confirming the report:

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

 

USA Today says the fallout was “swift” from there.

The apology came at 2 p.m.

ESPN reports later that afternoon, his resignation from the University of Louisville board of trustees had been accepted.

The Laundry Service terminated its contract with Papa John’s, says AdAge.

Late Wednesday, Mr. Schnatter had resigned.

Yahoo Sports says Major League Baseball indefinitely suspended its Papa Slam promotion, which allowed customers to receive 40 percent off their order the day following a grand slam. Individual clubs terminated their deals as well. The Kansas City Royals paused their “5-run promotion,” says KCTV and Fox Sports reports the Miami Marlins have suspended its deal.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore ordered the removal of Schnatter’s name from Nachand Fieldhouse, says The Washington Post. Papa John’s was founded in Jeffersonville, Schnatter’s hometown. He donated $800,000 to renovate the 80-year-old gymnasium; the mayor says he was told he could “expect some litigation to come my way,” but said he does not “make decisions [about] something being right or wrong based on a monetary gift.”

CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated say two University of Louisville fighting football Cardinals players, Seth Dawkins and Jaylen Smith, took to Twitter to lobby for a name change to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

UofL president Neeli Bendapudi told media Thursday that the school’s leadership plans to review its naming rights contract for the stadium and its legal obligations.

CNBC says Papa Johns stocks fell by 5.9 percent Wednesday to a 12-month low but surged by 11 percent following Mr. Schnatter’s resignation.

Dan Hill, CEO of Hill Impact said:

This is the danger when organizations are too tied to a personality. We saw it with Subway and Jared … when things are going well and those people are popular, and they are doing smart things, it works. But then you have a single point of failure, and it’s that person’s actions that reflect on the entire organization.

Many agree.

Chicago Tribune says: “Papa John is gone, but his image is still entwined with pizza chain.”

Bloomberg says: “‘No Quick Fix’ for Papa John’s After Racist Slur by Founder.”

USA Today says: “Papa John’s better off without a key ingredient: Papa John himself.”

The AP talks to University of Louisville professor Ricky L. Jones for analysis:

A Papa John’s spokesperson confirmed on Friday that the pizza chain is pulling Schnatter’s image from its advertising.

Clooney Scooter Accident:

Beloved Kentuckian George Clooney was in a scooter accident in Italy, says Billboard, Boston Globe and the loathed E!

Mr. Clooney was traveling in Sardinia, Italy on Tuesday when a blue Mercedes veered into the oncoming lane. Mr. Clooney collided head-on and was thrown over his bike.

People says Mr. Clooney’s family was “worried” after the accident. Well, I should say so? I mean, they’d have to be pretty savage if they weren’t.

Here’s the surveillance footage of the accident:

The Telegraph says the driver involved in the collision, plumber Antonello Viglino, says the sun was in his eyes when he attempted the turn:

I couldn’t see anything, I had the sun in my eyes. I was just starting to turn, I’d only gone a little way over the white line. I’m in shock. It all happened in an instant.

I recognized him as soon as he took his helmet off. I tried to stay calm, I was worried that he had hurt himself really badly. I could never have imagined that I would have hit George Clooney.

Well, sure. I mean, what are the odds? Like, 7.5 billion to 1, at least.

Rider Magazine says Mr. Clooney’s helmet likely saved his life, noting a CNN report stating his helmet smashed the windshield of the Mercedes.

Mr. Clooney is in Sardinia filming a six-part series based on the novel “Catch 22.” A spokesman says “He is recovering at home and will be fine.”

Tough Egg to Crack: Jennifer Lawrence’s latest film, “Red Sparrow” hit theaters in February and arrived on DVD back in May, but people are still talking about some of the film’s more brutal moments. The Evening Standard says those torture scenes were actually “pretty fun” to film for Lawrence.

In Red Sparrow, the torture scenes were pretty fun. Joel pretended to be tickled by the skin grafting machine that was peeling his skin off.

There was blood everywhere and he was like, ‘Hee hee hee hee’, so that was funny. I was basically being tortured with a NERF paddle so it wasn’t that bad.

The magic of cinema. And as actors, part of our job is to make you believe the story, absolutely, but not to take it so far as to have an audience say, “Gosh. I sure do hope Jennifer Lawrence’s skin grows back.” That’s taking things so far as to take you out of a film or play experience, and no one wants that.

Maybe Tom Cruise.

I think Tom Cruise is the acting equivalent of Timothy Treadwell, the guy who wanted to live with bears who was eventually eaten by a bear. He’d be like, “Hey, I don’t want to die, but if I went out by doing a free fall jump out of a jet onto the second tallest building in North America while making ‘Mission Impossible 12: The Razor’s Edge of Infinite Death,’ that would be an OK way to go.”

I leave you this week with the story of Drake, a magician and a lollipop that turns into Batman. The BBC says London musician Julius Dein asked Drake to name his favorite superhero. Dein then popped the lollipop into his mouth and then this happened.

Find someone who looks at you the way Drake looks at his sucker.

See you next week.

Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.


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