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Papa John's founder resigns as chairman after racial slur

Photo: North Carolina National Guard (MGN)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WKYT/AP) - Papa John's says founder John Schnatter has resigned as chairman of the board.

The company made the announcement late Wednesday, hours after Schnatter apologized for using a racial slur during a conference call in May.

Schnatter has also stepped down from the University of Louisville Board of Trustees.

Forbes reports Schnatter used the "N-word" during the call when describing the public scrutiny he received following his statement on NFL national anthem protests hurting sales. He brought up how he would distance himself from racist online groups during his comment.

"Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s,” Schnatter allegedly said, according to the Forbes article. He followed up the comment stating the KFC founder never faced public backlash.

Schnatter apologized following the report, saying "regardless of the context, I apologize." He also called the comment "inappropriate and hurtful."

Board of Trustees chairman J. David Grissom confirmed Schnatter tendered his resignation from the board effective immediately after two years of service. Grissom defended Schnatter, saying the comments did not reflect his personal beliefs.

The May conference call was with Schnatter and marketing agency Laundry Service.

Schnatter founded Papa John's in the Louisville suburb of Jeffersonville, Indiana. The company's headquarters are currently in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.

Schnatter stepped down as CEO last year.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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