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Papa John's founder alleges extortion, says he shouldn't have resigned

18 July 2018

According to USA Today, the Papa John's founder still owns 30 percent of his company, which was worth $531 million at the end of the day Friday.

Schnatter stepped down as chairman of the restaurant chain last week after offering a public apology for his use of the slur. That was just months after he exited the chief executive officer job over critical comments about the National Football League's national-anthem controversy. During the conference call, the pizza chain founder observed that Colonel Harlan Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame - who died in 1980 - used the n-word and no one ever came down on him.

Schnatter sent the memo over the weekend, criticizing the board for allegedly forcing him to step down before investigating the recent complaint against him. He was eventually forced to step down as CEO but remained chairman of the board and the face of the brand. "I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted".

In an internal memo obtained by Ad Age, Laundry Service says "disparaging and outrageous comments about Wasserman and Laundry Service" made in the media regarding its relationship with Papa John's are "completely false" and that it will be going on the record with a response.

In the report last week, Forbes said Schnatter used the N-word during a media training session in May, and that the incident led the Laundry Service marketing firm to sever its ties with Papa John's. "But they actually wanted to get into that vocabulary, and I said absolutely not".

"We know we can do better and I'm confident that we will", CEO Steve Ritchie said in May.

The Sunday press release also said that the "company has specifically requested that Mr. Schnatter cease all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees".

The board accepted Schnatter's resignation as chairman July 11 and will appoint a new chairman in coming weeks.

The company has yet to comment to Schnatter's accusation, but continues to distance itself from its founder.

Papa John's founder alleges extortion, says he shouldn't have resigned