Papa John's Founder Accused of Sexual Harassment, Creating Toxic Work Environment

The company decided to erase the executive’s likeness from all its marketing materials in the wake of last week's scandal

Schnatter says he used the term during a diversity & sensitivity training session in which he referenced KFC founder Colonel Sanders' alleged usage of the word when making a point about the racial etiquettes of different eras.

Over Schnatter's tenure, Papa John's has agreed to two confidential settlements after he was accused of inappropriate conduct, Forbes reported.

On Thursday, Forbes published an investigation into the work environment at Papa John's, based on interviews with 37 current and former employees.

Forbes said male employees made crude comments without outcome and that executives were rewarded based on their personal ties to Schnatter. "As a result, the University of Utah is reviewing its Papa John's contract and evaluating other options for the Union food court".

Schnatter admitted it was a poor choice of words, but denies that the comment had any traces of racism or vitriol, which has been suggested by the headline writers of many mainstream media outlets.

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One female employee said that Schnatter had asked about her bra size and whether she'd slept with her previous boss, and that he never let her pass in a hall without giving her a hug.

CEO Steve Ritchie was present for numerous toxic comments and just laughed, three employees told Forbes.

In a comment emailed to Business Insider, Papa John's said: "A special committee of the Board of Directors, comprised exclusively of independent directors, has retained an outside firm to oversee an audit and investigation of the culture at the company and to make recommendations for whatever changes may be necessary". We take this matter seriously. He reportedly talked about porn with a woman employee, and asked another if she was on her period, among other gross things.

Schnatter, who owns 29 percent of the company, apologized for using the racial slur - and claimed that he was "pushed" to use the offensive language. He subsequently stepped down as chairman and the company started to scrub his image from marketing materials.

Even so, he has lost his office at Papa John's headquarters.

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