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Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter Says He Shouldn’t Have Resigned Over That Racial Slur After All

July 17, 2018, 10:52 AM UTC

Since Papa John’s founder John Schnatter resigned as chairman, in the wake of yet another racially tinged scandal, the company has been scrambling to scrub his face from its pizza boxes and other marketing material. He’s even been kicked out of his office at the chain’s Louisville, Ky., headquarters.

However, Schnatter still remains on the Papa John’s (PZZA) board. The board is now trying to kick him off entirely and, in response, Schnatter has now said it was a mistake for him to step down as chairman.

“The board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so,” he said in a letter to the directors, reported on by the Wall Street Journal. “I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted.”

Schnatter’s resignation came after it emerged that he had used the n-word and graphically described lynchings on a call with Papa John’s marketing agency. The context was reportedly a role-playing session that was precipitated by racist groups’ endorsement of the pizza chain, in the wake of Schnatter’s complaint that the National Football League had not resolved the issue of protests by black players over police brutality—that controversy already saw Schnatter vacate the role of Papa John’s CEO.

Schnatter reportedly said in his letter that he had insisted in the call that he was not racist. “I then said something on the order of, Colonel Sanders used the word ‘N,’ (I actually used the word), that I would never use that word, and Papa John’s doesn’t use that word,” he wrote.

“He’s not going quietly,” Schnatter’s lawyer, Patricia Glaser, told the Journal.