WKU will not remove Papa John’s, following founder’s racial slur

Nicole Ziege

WKU has no plans to remove its two Papa John’s restaurants from campus after the pizza company’s founder, John Schnatter, admitted to using a racial slur, according to a statement released to the Herald by Aramark, WKU’s restaurant partner.

“Aramark respects the diverse backgrounds, styles, values and beliefs of our customers and employees,” Aramark said in its statement. “The management and employees at the Papa John’s locations that we operate fully adhere to the diversity and inclusion principles specified by Aramark and those specified by our client partners.”

In the statement, Aramark also said that it will not comment “specifically about Papa John’s business practices or the comments made by Mr. Schnatter.”

Forbes released a report on July 11 about Schnatter using a racial slur on a corporate conference call. Schnatter admitted to using the slur, according to Forbes.

The University of Louisville and University of Kentucky announced their plans to sever financial ties with Schnatter.

UofL President Neeli Bendapudi announced on Friday, July 13, that Papa John’s will be removed from the university’s stadium name before the first home football game, according to The Washington Post.

Schnatter, who was a donor to the university, resigned from UofL’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday, June 11. Bendapudi announced in her statement that the university will also remove Schnatter’s name from the Center for Free Enterprise at the College of Business, according to The Washington Post.

“These comments were hurtful and unacceptable, and they do not reflect the values of our university,” Bendapudi said in a statement in The Washington Post.

UK President Eli Capilouto announced that the university would also sever ties with Schnatter in a campus-wide email on Friday, July 13, according to the Kentucky Kernel.

In Capilouto’s email, he said that UK will remove Schnatter’s name from the John Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise in the Gatton College of Business. Schnatter and his family foundation contributed $8 million to the institute in 2015, according to the Kentucky Kernel.

“We believe in his sincerity to try to make amends, but attempting to continue any financial relationship with Mr. Schnatter would be a painful and unnecessary barrier to our efforts of building a community where everyone is welcome and belongs,” according to Capilouto’s statement in the Kentucky Kernel.

Schnatter has not made a donation to WKU.

Editor’s Note: In an emailed statement to Forbes, John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s, apologized for using the slur after he admitted to using it, according to Forbes.

“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” Schnatter said in his emailed statement, according to Forbes. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”

Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.