John Schnatter ought to run for president. He makes about as much sense as Trump, so in today’s world, he’d have a good shot at winning.
As I’m sure you’re aware by now, the former Papa John’s pizza czar was forced out of the company he founded last week for using racist language on a conference call in May.
Bizarrely, in a TV interview on Friday, Schnatter said the company’s former ad agency, Laundry Service, had tried to “blackmail” the pizza chain for $6 million to keep quiet about the racial epithet used on the call with the agency, which declined comment.
Everybody knows the agency business is going through a rough patch. Clients are trying to reduce spending every which way they can, including putting the squeeze on agency fees.
I hadn’t thought about blackmail as a solution, and I doubt that any agencies have either, including Laundry Service, which resigned the Papa John’s account shortly after Schnatter’s racist comments, as first reported by Forbes.
In fact, current Papa John’s leadership, to their credit, has taken great strides to separate itself as widely as possible from Schnatter. In addition to forcing his resignation as chairman, the company terminated an agreement under which Schnatter served as advertising and brand spokesman.
After his strange comments in the Friday interview, the company also “specifically requested that Mr. Schnatter cease all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees.”
The firm also said it was investigating all the company’s existing “processes, policies and systems” related to diversity and inclusion, supplier and vendor engagement and Papa John’s culture.
That’s a strong statement and an appropriate one.
As the saying goes, the fish stinks from the head down. With Schnatter at the helm, the fish had quite a stench. Hopefully, the company's board of directors will back up its talk and walk the walk.