Political Correctness: Papa John’s CEO Ramps Up Public Relations Campaign After Founder’s Comments
You know, it’s ridiculous to me that people’s entire lives are ruined, even losing their businesses due to something they said that was not criminal nor was it intended to be offensive, and that happened last week with Papa John’s founder John Schnatter. Even more sickening than that is the company’s CEO, Steve Ritchie, who thinks he needs to play the political correct public relations game.
First, in case you weren’t aware, Forbes reported on what took place:
In May, Schnatter participated in a conference call between Papa John’s executives and marketing agency Laundry Service. The call was intended as a role-playing exercise to help ensure that Schnatter wouldn’t make incendiary remarks in the future. Six months prior, he caused a public-relations flare-up after he referred to national anthem protests in the NFL as a “debacle.”
During the call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups. He responded by minimizing the significance of his NFL remarks. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” Schnatter said, before insisting that Sanders never faced public outcry.
In the same conversation, Schnatter also cited his upbringing in Indiana, where, he said, African-Americans were once dragged from trucks and killed. He apparently intended for the comments to illustrate his opposition to racist behavior. However, multiple individuals on the call found the graphic nature of his statements to be offensive, a source with knowledge of the event told Forbes. After hearing about the incident, Laundry Service owner Casey Wasserman moved to terminate the company’s contract with Papa John’s.
Clearly, Schnatter was not advocating racism, but leave it to people who are out for money to use it as an opportunity to make sure he stays in line with what is politically correct, and prefer to continue to use “the n-word” rather than just say the word “nigger” to keep from offending people.
Look, the word was used then as a slur. It’s used today as a slur. No doubt about it, but we sound like a bunch of 6-year-olds running around going “n-word” and whatever when we have a conversation. We sound utterly stupid, in my opinion, and no, I’m not racist. However, people will take the fact that someone uttered the word in one sentence in which they are clearly denying racism and relating real life as to what occurred and all of a sudden, the founder of a company that makes great pizza has to resign over it. It’s pathetic.
Then, we have little snowflakes like CEO Stevie Ritchie sending me an email because presumably, I’m on their list because I ordered pizzas from them to tell me that it “pains” him that Schnatter’s words “hurt me.”
Here’s what he wrote.
This past week was the hardest week in my 22 years with Papa John’s. I know the words of John Schnatter were offensive, and nothing pains me more than knowing they hurt you. To be clear, those words in no way represent my views or the values of our company. As the leader of Papa John’s, I’m sorry.
Racism and insensitive language – no matter the context – will not be tolerated at any level of our company. Period.
Papa John’s is not an individual. Papa John’s is a pizza company with 120,000 corporate and franchise team members around the world. These are the people in your communities from all walks of life who work hard to provide you with better service and better pizza. These are your local owners and operators who do so much in your community.
Still, you deserve actions, not just words, so here’s what we’re going to do about it:
- We’re in the process of bringing in outside experts to help audit our company’s culture and diversity and inclusion practices. This will allow us to identify our strengths and weaknesses. We will then set clear goals to do better.
- Our senior management team will be on the road, listening to our employees and franchisees and getting their feedback on a path to move forward.
- We’ll be transparent with you along the way. We want you to hold us accountable.
I will personally be leading this effort because there is nothing more important for Papa John’s right now. We want to regain your trust, and we will work hard to earn it. I know this will take time.
The entire team at Papa John’s wants to thank you for your loyalty. We are only in business because of you. And it’s our sincere wish that we’ll continue to have the honor of serving you.
CEO, Papa John’s
For Mr. Ritchie to assume I was either bothered or hurt by Schnatter’s comments is what I find insulting. While a company should have a good image in the marketplace, Papa John’s has basically cut its nose off to spite its face. John Schnatter is the face of Papa John’s. I don’t think PJ’s will ever recover after losing that face. They’ll continue in the marketplace, but if they had just waited a month or so and just ignored the stories, it would have blown over and there would be business as usual, “better ingredients, better pizza, Papa John’s.”
I just won’t be a part of their patronage anymore, not because of Schantter’s comments but because the company would accept a resignation that is brought about by politically correct pressure. They should have stood alongside him. Without John Schnatter, no one in that company (white, black or whatever) would have a job doing what they are doing today.
Schnatter went on to write Forbes in an email, “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.”
While I realize he is writing under some bit of duress here, the reality is that he was not being racist.
I wanna know why the media is just tearing the Democrat Party and their little “fact checkers” over at Snopes limb from limb over the ridiculous amount of use of the term “nigger” in this piece.
Schnatter resigned on Wednesday evening.
“The independent directors of the company have accepted the resignation of John H. Schnatter as Chairman of the Board,” read a statement posted to the Papa John’s website. “Olivia Kirtley acts as the company’s Lead Independent Director. Papa John’s will appoint a new Chairman of the Board in the coming weeks.”
“The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle,” Schnatter said. “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago. The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”
Apparently, that was a controversial statement too, even though it is true.
He stepped down as CEO two months after the comments.
Seriously, the political correctness is over the top, not only with dealing with Papa John’s but seriously, did CNN or NBC get blasted for their gratuitous use of “shithole” all over the airwaves? Did they? Did anyone have to resign or get fired? Nope. Not a single person. And there were numerous complaints to the FCC over it.
On Saturday, Schnatter told WLKY-TV in Louisville that the ad agency extorted him.
“They tried to extort us and we held firm and they took what I said and ran to Forbes. Forbes printed it and it went viral,” Schnatter said of the media agency.
I hope that Schantter will return to head up Papa John’s. Somehow, in my mind, it just won’t be the same company it was before without him. He’s brought a lot of happiness to blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians and a multitude of people. He’s obviously not racist and didn’t aim his comments in that direction.
As the attacks from the criminally minded continue against people like John Schnatter and others, understand that they attack and attribute to others what they are guilty of. Plain and simple.
Article posted with permission from Freedom Outpost