December 6, 2022

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter was just forced to step down as CEO

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This afternoon, Papa John’s announced the pizza company’s founder, largest shareholder, and chairman of the board, John Schnatter, will be stepping down from his position as CEO, after a backlash to his remarks criticizing NFL players for kneeling during the National Anthem to protest racial injustice.


Company stocks have plummeted 13% since Schnatter said, “The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”

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He said the protests were hurting pizza sales, but his remarks invited praise from white supremacists, creating a PR nightmare for the NFL sponsor.

Schnatter, a well-known Republican donor, blamed racial polarization on the men standing up against the unpunished police murders of unarmed black people.

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In so doing, he sounded like the president he supports, Donald Trump, who called the football players, ignited by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, “sons of bitches,” after calling white supremacists stoking racial violence in Charlottesville “very fine people.”

Though he will maintain his other roles behind the scenes at Papa John’s, we will no longer have to see Schnatter as the face of his pizza chain.

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This turn of events proves that voting with our dollars is a great way to make change between elections.

Lucia Brawley

Lucia Brawley is a Harvard- and Yale-educated writer, producer, actor, and political organizer. She runs the progressive political Facebook group Consenting to Lead. To learn more, please go to Follow her on Twitter: @luciabrawley

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