Papa John’s starts pulling founder’s image

NEW YORK (AP) — Papa John’s, which has featured founder John Schnatter as a spokesman in logos and TV ads, has begun pulling his image from its marketing and pledged to assess its diversity practices in response to his use of a racial slur.

Schnatter’s face was off some materials by Friday, though the pizza chain said there are no plans to change its name. Schnatter still is on the board and is the company’s largest shareholder.

CEO Steve Ritchie said Friday the company will retain an outside expert to audit its processes related to diversity and inclusion. And he said senior managers will hold “listening sessions” to give employees a platform for any concerns.

Schnatter came under fire this week after a Forbes report that he used the N-word during a media training conference call in May. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word.

Schnatter later said he would resign as chairman and issued an apology acknowledging the use of “inappropriate and hurtful” language.