In 2018, Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter was reported to have used a racial epithet in a conference call the previous year, and also described graphic descriptions of violence against racial minorities. Soon after, Schnatter was replaced as the company’s CEO, who said that “racism has no place at Papa John’s.” Schnatter admitted that he used the N-word, resigned, as Papa John’s chairman for the company’s board of directors, and his image was removed from all marketing materials. But in a recent interview, Schnatter said he’s been working over the last 20 months trying “to get rid of this N-word in my vocabulary.”
Schnatter’s interview on OAN featured a chyron that stated “Ad Agency Conspires Against Papa John’s,” and the interview included asking Schnatter about other ad campaigns “smearing your good name.” Schnatter said that Papa John’s “they paint the founder as a racist.” Schnatter then said that they’ve had three goals for the last 20 months: “To get rid of this N-word in my vocabulary and dictionary and everything else, because it’s just not true. Figure out how they did this, and get on with my life.”
It seems as though John Schnatter meant to say that he was trying to erase the public’s perception of him that he’s a racist, but instead, it makes him sound like he’s been spending the better part of two years trying to stop saying the N-word. The interview also features a chyron that says “The Depths of Cancel Culture,” but in reality, Schnatter himself stepped down after actions that absolutely should have lost him his job. This isn’t cancel culture, this is simply having to accept the responsibility of your actions. If you’re saying the N-word on important conference calls, maybe you shouldn’t be the face of the company?
Understandably, Papa John’s tried to distance themselves from Schnatter, since the company’s stock started to plummet after the controversy. But it seems as though Schnatter is trying to regain his position at the company just a few years after the incident. Considering Schnatter himself stepped down, and his language absolutely deserved punishment, it’s kind of shocking that Schnatter thinks he can get his job back after such public use of the N-word and other awful statements. If Jared got out of jail, it’s not like he’d go back to Subway and try to get his job back. That bridge has burned.
Naturally, Schnatter’s interview and his discussion of the N-word has led to Papa John’s trending on Twitter, which seems like another reason why the company probably wants to distance itself from Schnatter.
If Schnatter wanted to get back to working at Papa John’s, probably having an interview on OAN about cancel culture, which leads to the company trending alongside the N-word probably isn’t the way to go. While it seems like Schnatter misspoke in the interview, that’s a pretty big mistake to make, especially considering that he has actually admitted to saying the N-word. At this point, Schnatter is just digging a bigger hole for himself, and it seems like Papa John’s Pizza is probably better off without him.