On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Papa John’s Pizza plans to erase founder John Schnatter’s image from marking “after reports he used a racial slur.” Schnatter resigned as chairman on Wednesday evening after news of the comment broke. But the comment wasn’t actually racist — the founder of Papa John’s was discussing the history of marketing scandals.
The ouster of Schnatter — and worse, his removal from the company’s marketing — isn’t just a tragedy for him, it’s yet another example of stifling political correctness twisted against conservatives.
Schnatter, a Republican and major conservative donor, had made political comments from time to time. He once blamed Obamacare for an increase in company costs — quite rationally. But the major outcry came when he blamed the NFL players’ kneeling protest for a drop in pizza sales. Papa John said the protesters drove fewer people to watch football, meaning fewer people ordered pizza for the big game.
Liberals pounced on this statement as racist, or something. In reality, it was rather innocuous, although also rather tenuous. Even so, Papa John’s stock dropped, and both the company and Schnatter issued apologies. Schnatter then stepped down as CEO.
The most recent controversy is even sillier, however.
According to Forbes, the founder and public face of Papa John’s made his N-word remarks in a May conference call between company execs and the marketing agency Laundry Service. The call “was designed as a role-playing exercise for Schnatter in an effort to prevent future public-relations snafus.” PR training is a common thing for CEOs and executives.
On the call, Papa John was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online. He downplayed the significance of his NFL statement, but then threw in some PR scandal history. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” Schnatter said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash.
PJ Media has not been able to confirm the veracity of this report. However, Colonel Harland Davis Sanders was born in 1890 and grew up in a segregated America, eventually opening a restaurant in Kentucky. He contributed large sums of money to Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, a segregationist who opposed the Kennedy administration’s desegregation efforts and ran for president in 1968. A Change.org petition — with rather sad results — protested KFC’s ads featuring Col. Sanders, decrying him as a “known racist.”
It stands to reason that Sanders probably did use the N-word once, and that he probably got away with it. Papa John may have been unwise to mention this, but was it the kind of beyond the pale comment that should lead to his erasure from history?
In the call, Schnatter also reflected on his early life in Indiana, where he decried the racism he witnessed in his youth. He lamented that black people were dragged from trucks until they died. Although Forbes recorded these remarks as Schnatter attempting “to convey his antipathy to racism,” the magazine did not explicitly quote his remarks. Most likely, Papa John denounced this racism as evil. Even so, individuals on the call reportedly found the comments offensive.
Laundry Service owner Casey Wasserman moved to terminate his company’s contract with Papa John’s. Notice something — the company didn’t try to help Schnatter polish his response, which is what it was hired to do. Instead, it rejected him out of hand.
Then Papa John himself apologized and stepped down as chairman of the board.
“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” Schnatter admitted. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”
Now, the company intends to erase him from its marketing.
BREAKING: AP Source: Papa John's plans to pull founder John Schnatter's image from marketing after reports he used a racial slur.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 13, 2018
Should Papa John be erased from history for referencing offensive remarks he claims someone else said? Should he be removed from the company he founded because he condemned the racism he saw in his youth?
Schnatter is vilified and condemned as racist by his own company while Democrats like Maxine Waters who have gladly worked with the anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan are not forced to apologize by their own party. Speech that is regarded as offensive — even when defending an actress’ ability to act — is routinely silenced.
Did Schnatter mess up? Sure. He made some rather odd remarks on a private conference call that has now become public. He probably should have said “N-word” instead of the actual word.
Contrary to his own apology, however, it seems rather questionable to describe his remarks as racist. Does this require the erasure of Papa John from Papa John’s? If so, let’s apply the same ridiculous standard to the Left.