At one point in time, John Schnatter was the king of pizza. He spent his free time chumming it up with Peyton Manning and blacking out at Louisville basketball games. However, Schnatter used the N-word during a phone call and the pizza mogul has hit every branch along the way during his fall from grace.
Since the incident, he has stepped down as CEO, evicted from his office, been pulled from all marketing campaigns, had his name removed from the Louisville football stadium, and even expressed regret.
Not for his terrible haircut or use of racial slurs, but for stepping down as CEO.
In a new development, Schnatter claims he used the N-word as an example of what not to say,
Schnatter resigned as chairman last week at the behest of Papa John's board after confirming Forbes' reporting. However, he said the comments were taken out of context and that he was provoked into using the N-word after Laundry Service suggested the company bring on performer Kanye West as a co-spokesman for television spots and promotions.
Schnatter said he refused to work with West because "he uses the 'N' word in his lyrics," according to the letter. It was later on the call that Schnatter said he used the actual word when pressed whether or not he was a racist.
"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," Schnatter told the board. "Let me be very clear: I never used the “N” word in that meeting as a racial epithet, nor would I ever.
So now we fully understand the reality of this convoluted debacle. Kanye West, the African-American recording artist, is barred from marketing because he uses the N-word in his music; John Schnatter, a Caucasian billionaire, should be able to maintain his position at the company because he didn't use the word as a "racial epithet."
Even worse, Schnatter claims that Laundry Service, the agency that suggested bringing on West, is blackmailing him because he used the N-word
He said Papa John's fired Laundry Service the day after the call took place, but still owed the media agency about $1.3 million. Schnatter said that the agency requested $6 million "because they claimed some of their people had been offended by what I had said," he wrote.
He said one their attorneys threatened "a smear campaign" if Papa John's didn't pay up. He said that Papa John's ultimately paid Laundry Service $2.5 million.
"I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted,” Schnatter wrote.
Schnatter took the high road and waited until he lost his job to allege blackmail. If Schnatter had brought up these allegations while he was CEO, then he is just another billionaire CEO picking on the little guy. Just another capitalist pig preying on the weak. So he let it slide under the table. But just like a gift to the audience during an airing of Oprah, the issue has emerged.
With the information out, the truth will come forth. Is Papa John the SJW, tainted by blackmail, that literally no one thinks he is? Or is he an old, billionaire that accidentally let the N-word slip out?
The world will know soon enough.