The founder of the popular U.S. pizza delivery franchise Papa John's has resigned as chairman of the company's board after a published report he used a racial slur during a conference call.
Forbes magazine published a report Wednesday that John Schnatter was participating in a media training session with a marketing agency on how to respond to race-related questions.
When asked how he would separate himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly used the N-word when he said Colonel Sanders, the founder of the popular Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, never faced any backlash for using the slur.
Schnatter admitted to using the word in his resignation letter hours after the Forbes story was published, which he called "inappropriate and hurtful language."
"Regardless of the context, I apologize," he wrote."Simply stated, racism has no place in our society." He also resigned from the board of trustees of the University of Louisville, based in the southcentral state of Kentucky.
Papa John's share prices dropped nearly five percent Wednesday after the Forbes report.
Schnatter stepped down as Papa John's chief executive officer late last year after blaming the franchise's slow sales on the controversy surrounding players kneeling during the national anthem, largely led by black players protesting police mistreatment of African Americans.