Marketing Legal

Papa John vs Papa John's: scandal-riddled Papa launches truther site to regain trust


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

August 22, 2018 | 4 min read

Papa John has created a website called Save Papa Johns to bolster his bid to regain power in the company he founded and was once a mascot, chairman and chief executive of. He said he will use it to get the "truth" about his removal from the company out.

John Schnatter looks to get the 'truth' out about resignation

Papa John's Papa launches legal counteract with website

Meanwhile, the board of Papa John’s is moving away from its ousted leader, blaming his controversial comments for an earnings slump as it distances itself from his comments on race and protests.

This is the latest step in a long saga that has spanned protesting NFL athletes to the use of the N-word in a media-training call. As a result, the pizza brand recently lost most of its agency and marketing partners.

Since then, at the latest earnings call, the company's chief executive Steve Ritchie has blamed Papa for its earnings slump. ‘Papa’ John Schnatter’s controversies saw him resign, and then later try to walk back his resignation.

As part of his charm offensive, he took an ad out in local paper, the Courier Journal, to direct the company's 120,000 staff to his website. It boldly reads ‘I AM PAPA JOHN’, clashing with current chief executive Steve Ritchie’s claims that Papa John’s is much more than any given individual, even its founder cum mascot.

The copy on the website reads as follows: “I built Papa John’s from the ground up and remain its largest shareholder. I love my company, its employees, franchisees and customers.

“The board wants to silence me. So this is my website and my way to talk to you. 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. I can only imagine how difficult this entire situation is on you, and I’m very sorry you all have to go through this. Know that in every minute of every day you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

“Included in this website are links to recent press releases, news articles, and public filings – we are getting the truth out there.”

Schnatter’s legal documentation and filings are also shared on the website. As are a few select news stories.

Notably, the typography of the website’s logo does not infringe on the Papa John’s logo, although the company may not take well to the site opening up a can of worms and letting the public gaze at the legal proceedings it is enthralled in.

Schnatter owns 30% of Papa John's, meaning that a lengthy legal battle could lie ahead regardless.

Marketing Legal

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