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Papa John’s founder donates $1 million to historically black college following backlash for racial slur

Jeanette Settembre

Disgraced Papa John’s founder has donated $1 million to a historically black college in Kentucky more than a year after resigning from the pizza chain for his use of a racial slur.

John Schnatter, founder of the Louisville-based pizza chain, returned to the public spotlight on Wednesday, announcing the donation to Simmons College of Kentucky. He resigned from Papa John’s as its chair last year after facing backlash for his comments about the National  Football League players protesting the national anthem and used the N-word during a company conference call.

Papa John’s did not immediately return a request for comment.

Simmons College of Kentucky was in 1865 shortly after the end of the Civil War, and it is among many schools founded to primarily educate Black students who were barred or restricted from attending other universities and colleges. The college’s president, the Rev. Kevin Cosby, and Mark Lynn,  the chairman of Simmons' board of trustees said that people should focus on Schnatter’s actions not his words, according to The Associated Press.

Schnatter issued an appology after he stepped down as chairman last year.

“The board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation,” Schnatter said in a letter to Papa John’s board obtained by the Wall Street Journal. “I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so. I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted.”

Schnatter continues to sell shares of the company. He sold 475,861 Papa John's shares on Aug. 22 for a total of $20.6 millon, or an average price of $43.22 each, Barron's reported.

Arby's executive Rob Lynch was brought on to be Papa John's new president and CEO in August. 

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