JUST IN: ‘Papa John’ Says PR Company Planted Racism Allegations After He Would Not Pay $6M

Papa John is in trouble

A public relations firm hired to promote the pizza firm conspired to destroy them. Wonder why? The firm’s staff didn’t like any of the political views employees had. The latest lawsuit suggests that an executive threatened to bury Papa John unless they paid $6 million.

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John Schnatter received serious criticism in 2017 for the remarks he made regarding kneeling NFL players. The owner said that “by not resolving the current debacle to the player and owners’ satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”

PR firm Laundry Service had a call on May 22, 2018 in which they “ambushed” the owner with questions about race. Yes, they recorded it.

The company muted their line to mock Schnatter. Laundry Service founder Jason Stein said, “This is what happens when a sociopath spirals.”

Schnatter was frustrated to see that his remarks were painted as racists.

“What bothers me is Colonel Sanders called blacks n******. I’m like, I’ve never used that word. And they get away with it… Yet we use the word debacle and we get framed in the same genre. It’s crazy,” he said.

After the call, Stein said “I hope he gets f***kin’ sent out to the pasture on this sh**. I really, really f***kin’ do.” It was all recorded.

Another Laundry Service employee said he didn’t show much support for NFL players.

“To me the players saying that they’re still going to protest is because they’re saying this is a real issue… It’s like a lack of self-awareness and a lack of curiosity, and a lack of trying to like change his view, or attack it in his life, because if you just want to live in this box, then that is the ingredient to racism.”

Stein revealed this was a setup.

. “Make sure it’s an hour-long conversation, so that he says sh– like he said here. It’s gonna come out,” Stein said, and a colleague added, “I want whatever we recorded to be like the actual interview.”

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In 2020, Randi White, then-vice president of client services, had an interview about the link between corporations and politics.

“Culture is our business, at Laundry Service. It’s how we build relationships with people and inspire action… Brands can engage authentically by making the cause a part of who they are, and ensuring there’s a long-term plan to continue to support the cause,” she said. “I’ve been involved in the Black Lives Matter movement by advising my clients on the core issues, the long-standing history of systemic racism, personal experiences, and the lasting effects of not only overt racism but covert racism and prejudices/microaggressions,” she added.

Laundry Service is no longer working with Papa John and they also lost 10% of the staff on July 9, 2018.

Shortly after the layoff announcement, Forbes came out with a story that “John Schnatter—the founder and public face of pizza chain Papa John’s—used the N-word on a conference call in May.” Schnatter resigned overnight.

Something totally strange happened before the layoffs.

In June 2018, “Casey Wasserman, the CEO of Laundry Service’s parent company, told Papa John’s then-CEO Steve Ritchie that he would ‘bury the founder’ (i.e., Mr. Schnatter) if Laundry Service was not paid $6 million dollars.”

The lawsuit read:

“Following this threat to “bury the founder”—and in apparent retaliation for Papa John’s refusing to pay Laundry Service $6 million—Defendants leaked to Forbes magazine excerpts of their May 22, 2018, call with Mr. Schnatter. But rather than provide the true context of what Mr. Schnatter actually said, Defendants provided information out of context, suggesting he had used a racial slur against African Americans. In short, they created an impression that Mr. Schnatter had communicated something opposite to what he said.”

It’s a tricky situation for everyone and many would compare it to soap operas.

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Source: The Daily Wire

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