In a letter to Papa John's board of directors obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Schnatter called his decision to resign under pressure "a mistake" and criticized the board for pushing him to step down without a proper investigation.
Schnatter resigned as chairman and quit the University of Louisville board of trustees last week after publicly apologizing for using the N-word during a media training with a marketing agency. Papa John's is now in the process of removing Schnatter from its advertisements and marketing material.
Papa John's board also asked Schnatter to cease media appearances on behalf of the company and evicted him from the headquarters building. So-and-so used the n-word, and we don't use the n-word, and we're not gonna use the n-word.
According to the internal email sent to Laundry Service employees Tuesday afternoon, Laundry Service plans to go on the record and refute comments made about itself and its parent company, Wasserman. However, the announcement of Schnatter's resignation gave the company share price an 11% bump and there are now rumors it could be bought by a larger restaurant conglomerate.
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In an earlier controversy, Schnatter stepped down as Papa John's president and CEO in December in the wake of his comments during the chain's November 1 third-quarter earnings call, when he blamed the brand's flagging sales on the National Football League for not quelling players' on-field "take a knee" protests.
"I'm not for sale", he told WLKY News in Louisville.
The email urged staffers to not respond to inquiries from journalists about Papa John's and Laundry Service, and to refer those contacts to its public relations representative. "The disparaging and outrageous comments about Wasserman and Laundry Service that have been covered are completely false and we have a centralized PR strategy to go on the record and refute them. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so", Schnatter said.
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Schnatter still owns about 30 percent of the stock in the company he founded in 1984, and he retains a board seat.
During the May call, Schnatter tried to downplay controversial remarks he made last November about how the NFL was handling players protesting during the National Anthem. Same-store sales in North America, similarly, dropped 5.3 percent during the first quarter, as its lost ground to Domino's and Pizza Hut.
During the call, Schnatter was said to be participating in a role-playing exercise, when he allegedly stated that "Colonel Sanders called black people n--", and claimed that Sanders never got backlash for it.
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