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UPDATED: Schnatter Resigns As Papa John's Chair, U of L Board Member After Report Of Racial Slur

Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter has resigned from both the University of Louisville Board of Trustees and as chairman of the Papa John's board.

Schnatter's resignation comes after a report from Forbes magazine that Schnatter used a racial slur during a May conference call on how to handle the Louisville-based company’s public relations problems.

According to the article:
"On the May call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online. He responded by downplaying the significance of his NFL statement. 'Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s,' Schnatter said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash."
Schnatter has since said the report is accurate and he apologized.

On Wednesday, the Louisville Branch of the NAACP called on Schnatter to resign or be removed from the U of L Board, and the chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party called on Governor Matt Bevin to remove Schnatter from the board, saying “an apology is not sufficient.”

In a statement, U of L Board of Trustees Chairman J. David Grissom said he appreciated Schnatter's two years of service.

“After speaking with John, I’m confident that his comments, while inappropriate, do not reflect his personal beliefs or values," Grissom wrote.  "No member of the board of trustees condones racism or insensitive language regardless of the setting.  The University of Louisville embraces and celebrates diversity and is a supporter of all its students and stakeholders regardless as to their identity."

Schnatter stepped down as CEO of Papa John’s in January after drawing fire for criticizing the National Football League’s handling of protests by some players during the National Anthem.

This post has been updated.

Rick Howlett was midday host and the host of LPM's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." He was with LPM from 2001-2023 and held many different titles, including Morning Edition host, Assignment Editor and Interim News Director. He died in August 2023. Read a remembrance of Rick here.

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