Update, August 22, 2018: Papa John’s senior director of public relations, Peter Collins, reached out with a statement after we reported the news of John Schnatter’s website and letter.
His statement says, in part: “Just wanted to point out that all of our stakeholders want to save Papa John’s from John.”
The statement continues: “We are not, nor should we be, dependent on one person. Papa John’s is 120,000 corporate and franchisee team members around the world. Stakeholders, including customers, franchisees, employees, and investors, have expressed strong support for the actions we have taken to separate our brand from Mr. Schnatter. No matter what John does, he will not be able to distract from the inappropriate comments he made. We appreciate this support and are confident we are taking the right steps to move the company forward.”
Angry muskrat John Schnatter, the embattled former chairman of Papa John’s, has already demonstrated his inability to just walk away from the protracted public disaster that eventually led to his resignation. Not content to lick his wounds in private, he’s now launched SavePapaJohns.com. The site’s stated aim has an unseemly aura of conspiracy: “The Board wants to silence me. So this is my website, and my way to talk to you.”
That’s right—wake up, sheeple. Don’t believe everything the lamestream media is telling you about how Schnatter used a racial slur and got banned from his former office. No, listen to the truth, which he lays out in an emotional appeal on the homepage: “As I said in a recent letter, I miss you all very much. More than words can express! Papa John’s is our life’s work and we will all get through this together somehow, some way.”
That recent letter he’s referring to? It’s a full-page ad Schnatter took out in Wednesday’s edition of his hometown paper, the Louisville Courier Journal. In the ad, he reiterates how much he misses his employees: “In every minute of every day you are all in my thoughts and prayers,” he writes. The Courier Journal mentions the ad was “placed by the firm handling Schnatter’s public relations,” which begs the question: Why has the firm not hog-tied him and locked him in a remote bunker to avoid such embarrassing displays?
This is the weird contradiction in the whole Papa John vs. Papa John’s saga, which we really hope will be optioned as a made-for-TV-movie: If Schnatter really loved his employees and cared about any shred of a legacy he has left, he’d go gently into that good night. The ongoing circus surrounding his departure has demonstrably hurt sales, leading Papa John’s HQ to offer financial assistance to struggling franchisees. The best move Schnatter could make to prove to his employees that they’ll “get through this somehow” isn’t to make a weird truther website, it’s to shut his mouth entirely.