The founder and chairman of the Papa John‘s pizza chain has resigned after it was revealed Wednesday that he used a racial slur during a conference call in May.
John Schnatter confirmed using the slur in an emailed statement to Forbes, which first published the account of the conference call.
“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” Schnatter said. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”
According to the Forbes report, Schnatter was doing a role play exercise with Laundry Service, a marketing agency hired to prevent the pizza mogul from making more public relations mistakes. Schnatter hired the agency after he criticized NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against black people last year The fallout resulted in Schnatter resigning from his role as CEO in December.
During that call, Schnatter complained that Colonel Sanders, the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain, never received criticism for his racist remarks.
“Colonel Sanders called blacks [expletives],” Schnatter said.