Media Won't Like the Real Story Behind Papa John's Founder Using Racist Word


It was recently reported that the founder and chairman of Papa John’s Pizza, John Schnatter, used a racial slur during a conference call in May, and the media have run absolutely wild with the story.

Bear in mind that the left has hated Schnatter for some time after he spoke out against the Obamacare law and slammed the National Football League for not properly addressing the national anthem kneeling issue in 2017 — both of which impacted the financial bottom line of his business — so the liberal media had few qualms about smearing the popular pizza-pitchman as an unrepentant racist.

But, unsurprisingly, things are not exactly as they seem once one gets past the screaming headlines and looks into the details of what really happened, as was related by Forbes.

Schnatter did indeed use a racial slur in the conference call — the “N-word,” to be specific — but he did so in order to make a valid comparison about double standards, not as an expression of his own view of black people.

Forbes explained how Schnatter had long been the public face of the pizza chain but had somewhat disappeared into the shadows following the dust-up with the NFL in 2017. In the interim, he had hired a public relations and marketing agency known as Laundry Services to help smooth things over so he could re-emerge as the face of his successful franchise once again in advertisements.

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That led to the conference call in May between Laundry Services and a number of Papa John’s executives, including Schnatter, which discussed various hypothetical situations and role-played certain scenarios in order to avoid similar public relations nightmares in the future.

At one point Schnatter was asked how he would attempt to distance himself from openly racist groups online if they were to embrace him, but Schnatter downplayed the racism angle of his criticisms of the NFL and national anthem kneeling issue, and in doing so pointed out that Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s” but never faced any sort of concerted backlash from the public over obviously racist statements.

He also recalled having grown up in Indiana during a time when openly racist individuals would drag black people from the back of their trucks until they died, an obvious effort at displaying his opposition to blatantly racist behavior but one that was misconstrued and deemed “offensive” by some of the participants in the conference call.

Thus, the sudden media-driven smear campaign against Schnatter and Papa John’s that saw the company’s stock value take a hit while Laundry Services terminated its contract with the pizza chain and felt compelled to lay off 10 percent of its workforce because of the financial pressures.

Do you think the media purposefully leave out context of stories that don't align with their liberal narratives?

In an emailed statement to Forbes, Schnatter stated, “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,” he added.

While Schnatter is absolutely correct that “racism has no place in our society,” he is wrong to suggest that the context of his remarks should be disregarded, as once again he was not expressing his personal view of black people but stating the view of someone else to draw a rather valid comparison about how utterances of racism are treated by the media and society at large.

In essence, Schnatter was rejecting the idea that he should dignify online racist groups by distancing himself from them with public statements while at the same time calling out the race-obsessed media for labeling him a racist for standing against the NFL’s allowance of the anthem protests while ignoring actual racist remarks from the founder of another restaurant chain.

Schnatter was not cavalierly throwing around a racial slur but making a legitimate point about how the media and society have in recent years blurred the line between what is actual racist behavior versus what is not but ends up being described as such by the media and race-obsessed segments of society.

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To be sure, Schnatter probably should have found a different manner in which to make that valid point, as the use of the actual offensive term was pretty dumb and merely opened the door for the media he was calling out to use it against him.

Nevertheless, the media’s treatment of him following the revelation of what he said during that conference call only goes to prove the very point he was attempting to make, and ironically both he and the media played into each other’s hands with this particular incident … though the liberal media will be most reluctant to admit that.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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