Papa John was railroaded

As the call wound down, it appears from the recording and transcript that Schnatter (unmuted) began venting to his team about the situation he was in, while Stein (on mute) started venting to his team about their shared loathing of Schnatter, and the Laundry Service team recorded both conversations. Schnatter complained about prior PR and ad agencies refusing to let him talk, and that’s when he said this to Ritchie and Wollrich:

“I got to tell you, heaven forbid this company if they’re not going to use me at all. After I’ve looked at this research, I mean, I’m just not seeing how you’re not going to tell the Papa John story and let them – what bothers me is Colonel Sanders called blacks n******. I’m like, I’ve never used that word. And they get away with it. [UNINTELLIGIBLE CROSSTALK] Yet we use the word debacle and we get framed in the same genre. It’s crazy. The whole thing’s crazy.”

Should Schnatter have used that word, in quoting what somebody else said? Not in a public setting, surely — and maybe not wisely here, either. But his whole point was that this was an example of a bad thing he wouldn’t say. Who among us, even those of us who would never use that word, has not described something bad to make a contrast? This is like what the New York Times did to Donald McNeil, but worse, because there isn’t even the excuse that Schnatter was talking to kids.

Stein and his team, meanwhile, immediately lit into Schnatter even before the “N-word” was uttered.