Maybe it’s because he’s spending more time hate-watching TV and sees a half-dozen Squarespace ads every day. Maybe he was curious about the newest “new” WordPress. Or maybe he just thought, “If Brett Favre can build a website, then I sure as shit can.”
Whatever the reason, John Schnatter, the now-disgraced founder of Papa John’s and occasional user of the N-word, has launched his own website and is using it to communicate with his former employees, the public, and anyone who wants to see him standing in front of a bookcase with his arms folded.
This weird Pizza Truther turn started on Wednesday, when Schnatter took out a full-page ad in Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier Journal in an attempt to reach everyone at the Papa John’s headquarters. “Dear Fellow Papa John’s Team Members,” he wrote. “I miss you all very much. More than words can express!”
Despite that opening sentiment, he uses a few more words to try to explain what the fuck he’s doing: “The Board will not let me talk to you, and that is very difficult,” he continued. “I can only imagine how difficult this situation is on you, and I’m very sorry you all have to go through this. You are the heart and soul of this company—please know that in every minute of every day, you are all in my thoughts and prayers [...] As you all know, Papa John’s is our life’s work and we will all get through this together somehow, some way.”
Schnatter, who speaks like a reluctantly divorced dad who is trying to explain to his kids why he won’t be with them at Christmas, seems to have forgotten that he was forced out of the company after using a racial slur during a “crisis-relations exercise” earlier this year. In closing, the ad directed everyone to the website SavePapaJohns.com, which features Schnatter’s bio, assorted legal documents, and PDFs of a half-dozen letters written by Schnatter’s attorneys.
Some of that paperwork does reference the reason for his departure, and it’s just cringe. “There is a world of difference between using the word as a slur—demeaning someone by calling them that word—and quoting that word," a legal document uploaded to the site reads. According to CNBC, Schnatter has repeatedly claimed that “he was emphasizing that it was ‘utterly wrong and inappropriate’ to use the word.” (Right, sure thing.)
Despite Schnatter’s online and offline attempts to connect with his former employees, Papa John’s is having none of it. “We are not, nor should we be, dependent on one person,” the company said in a statement. “Papa John’s is 120,000 corporate and franchisee team members around the world. Stakeholders, including customers, franchisees, employees, and investors, have expressed strong support for the actions we have taken to separate our brand from Mr. Schnatter. No matter what John does, he will not be able to distract from the inappropriate comments he made. We appreciate this support and are confident we are taking the right steps to move the company forward.”
Oh sure, you say that now, but wait until Schnatter figures out how to embed video clips.