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Papa John Controversy: Papa John Schnatter, The Disgraced Pizza Magnate, To Speak At CPAC

During a conference call in 2018, Schnatter used the racially charged term “n-word,” which led to his removal from the board of directors of his company.

According to a tweet posted on Thursday by Matt Schlapp, the leader of the American Conservative Union, the infamous pizza entrepreneur “Papa John” Schnatter has been confirmed as a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference, also known as CPAC.

Schlapp posted a remark on a picture of a happy Schnatter, stating, “CONFIRMED: @IAmPapaJohn.” Schnatter tweeted his name as “IAmPapaJohn.” Only “Papa John” was written as a caption underneath his image.

papa john controversy

Schnatter initiated the establishment of Papa John’s Pizza in the year 1984. As of January 2018, the National Football League severed its business ties with the company in response to comments made by Schnatter in which he criticized the league for not doing more to prevent players from kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. He had served as CEO up until that point.

Schnatter reportedly indicated on a conference call evaluating the performance of the company that “the discussion is polarising the customer, and it is polarising the country.” This was reported by the Chicago Tribune.

After those words were made, Schnatter drew applause from white nationalists, and two weeks later, Papa John’s issued an apology for the company’s actions. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company distanced itself from the organization and declared that it did not want the customers to buy their pizza. The statement was made because the company did not want to be associated with the group.

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Despite the fact that it was uncovered that Schnatter had used the “n-word” during sensitivity training, he was still tied to the firm in the capacity of chairman of the board of directors. He asserted this but did not provide any evidence to support his assertion, that Colonel Harland Sanders, the man who invented Kentucky Fried Chicken, was guilty of using the slur without suffering any penalties.

papa john controversy

In an interview given to the San Francisco news source KRON 4 in 2018, John Schnatter accused the company’s marketing firm of embellishing the narrative. He did so while the firm’s representatives were present during the conversation.

According to Schnatter, it wasn’t meant as an insult in any way. After repeating something that someone else had said during a social media planning and training session, I replied, “We weren’t going to say that; we don’t use that kind of term or word.” I was responding to what the other person had said. Undoubtedly, it was misunderstood and taken out of context, but it does not change the fact that it is irrelevant.

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He continued, “We were able to put up a fight against the marketing agency’s attempts to blackmail us.” They grabbed what I had to say and immediately raced to Forbes, where it was published and distributed further.

Following his departure from the company in 2019, his image was removed from all promotional materials and the Papa John’s logo, as stated by Igor Derysh of Salon. Following that, Schnatter established the website SavePapaJohns.com in an effort to make a return and provide his account of the events that transpired. After that, he continued by accusing the management of the company of being biased and engaging in sexual harassment.

Since Schnatter was sacked from the company, his reputation has taken a weird turn for the worse; yet, he has found a willing audience among right-wing conservatives, who view him as a pioneer of the capitalist movement who was unfairly fired from the company he created for speaking his mind.

papa john controversy

One instance of this is when he stated, during a particularly hot and sticky interview, that after eating 40 of his own pizzas in the span of 30 days, he saw a decline in the overall quality of the product.

In an interview in 2021 with One America News Network, a far-right and pro-Trump television program, Schnatter revealed that he had spent the preceding 20 months working to eliminate the “n-word” from his lexicon. He made this statement in reference to the program. Additionally, he mentioned that he desired to “go on with [his] life.”

This happened after he had previously warned in an interview with a television station in Louisville that a “day of reckoning was coming,” and now it had happened.

Before the issues involving the NFL and the use of the “n-word,” Schnatter had already dabbled in political upheaval. According to Business Insider, John Schnatter received backlash in 2012 for his statement that “both the franchisees and the employees of Papa John’s could stand to lose out as a result of the Affordable Care Act.”

Also Read: Morgan Wallen Controversy: The Race Issue In Country Music Hasn’t Altered A Year After!

According to Schnatter, Obamacare would end up costing Papa John’s between $5 and $8 million a year and would ultimately lead to higher pizza pricing.

In addition, Schnatter contributed $1,000 to the presidential campaign of former President Donald Trump, despite the fact that he did not make any attempt to publicly back the candidate. Nevertheless, the two will meet at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which will take place in Florida the following week.

Donald Trump will be the featured speaker at this event. Some additional speakers include Sean Spicer, Candace Owens, Representative Jim Jordan, Representative Madison Cawthorne, and Glenn Beck.

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