Papa John Erased From History for Making Remarks About History
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.