The founder of Papa John’s mentioned he made “a mistake” when he agreed to step down as chairman of the corporate’s board final week amid “mischaracterized” studies about his use of a racial slur earlier this yr.
In a letter addressed to members of the corporate’s board, pizza chain founder John Schnatter mentioned board members pressured him to resign with out “any investigation” and primarily based its resolution on “rumor and innuendo.”
“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,” Schnatter mentioned, in line with a copy of the letter obtained by ABC News on Tuesday. “I have checked with corporate governance experts who tell me that this was not a proper action by the board.”
Patty Glaser, an legal professional representing Schlatter to the board, wrote in a separate letter on July 15 that the “board had no authority to remove Mr. Schnatter as a director” and referred to as for “an independent investigation and fully inform itself as to what actually occurred.”
Glaser warns that “the failure to conduct a complete and independent investigation” would render “individual Board members liable for all resulting harm to the Company and to Mr. Schnatter.”
Schnatter confronted fierce backlash final week after Forbes reported that he used the N-word throughout a May convention name whereas discussing the nationwide anthem protests within the NFL.
“Colonel Sanders called blacks n——,” Schnatter mentioned, referring to Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Harland Sanders, according to the Forbes report.
Schnatter apologized for the remarks final Wednesday and agreed to step down as Papa John’s chairman simply a few hours later.
He additionally resigned from his place on the University of Louisville’s board of trustees final week, in line with the college. He had served on the board for 2 years.
The Kentucky-based pizza chain had been testing commercials to see if Schnatter needs to be reintroduced “with significant success,” in line with his letter to the board, however the firm appears to be reconsidering that relationship now.
“Racism and any insensitive language, no matter what the context simply cannot -– and will not -– be tolerated at any level of our company,” CEO Steve Ritchie mentioned in a assertion over the weekend. “It has also been decided he will no longer be in any of the advertising or marketing materials associated with the brand.”
Schnatter, presently the corporate’s largest shareholder, didn’t disclose particulars on the present standing of the connection within the letter.
He accused the corporate of missing the power to “handle a crisis based on misinformation.”
“The corporate governance experts with whom I consulted said this is not the proper action of either a director or the board,” the letter mentioned. “I am confident that an examination of the facts will bear out what I have written in this letter and show that once again our company has demonstrated that it does not know how to handle a crisis based on misinformation.”
Schnatter, 56, stepped down from his function as CEO late final yr after saying NFL gamers ought to stand for the nationwide anthem and that their protests had damage the corporate’s gross sales. Those feedback had precipitated his preliminary elimination from commercials.
He continues to be a member of the corporate’s board.
ABC News’ Darren Reynolds and Henderson Hewes contributed to this report.