John Schnatter, the man who founded Papa John’s pizza restaurants, has apologized for using the N-word during a conference call in May, Forbes reports.
According to the Forbes story, Schnatter was responding how he’s handling criticism he has faced for criticizing NFL players’ anthem protests. In December, Schnatter stepped down as CEO following the backlash to his comments.
During the conference call, Schnatter reportedly made the remarks while making a reference to KFC.
“Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” Schnatter said while attempting to put his actions in some type of context, according to Forbes
In a follow-up statement, Schnatter apologized for the utterance, telling Forbes: “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.”
In another statement, corporate representatives said, ““Papa John’s condemns racism and any insensitive language, no matter the situation or setting. … We take great pride in the diversity of the Papa John’s family, though diversity and inclusion is an area we will continue to strive to do better.”
There are no remaining Papa John’s restaurants in the Rochester-area after an abrupt shutdown in April.