Papa John's controversial founder is being kicked out of the chain's office after saying the N-word during a conference call

Jason Merrit/GettyJohn Schnatter was the face of Papa John’s.

In under a week, John Schnatter has gone from being the face of Papa John’s to being its biggest downfall.

Schnatter, Papa John’s founder and former CEO, stepped down as chairman of the company on July 11 after he admitted to using the N-word in a company conference call in May, which was first reported by Forbes.

“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” Schnatter said in a statement. “Regardless of the context, I apologise. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”

Since then, Papa John’s has removed Schnatter’s face from the company’s logo and marketing materials. Now, it has booted him out of its office completely.

In a statement released to the press on Sunday, the company announced that it had launched a special committee to deal with the fallout. The committee agreed to terminate Schnatter’s sublease in the Papa John’s office, which he used while serving as the company’s chairman.

“Since Mr. Schnatter no longer has an active role with the management of company’s business, the special committee directed the company to terminate a sublease agreement granting Mr. Schnatter the right to use certain office space at the company’s corporate headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky,” Papa John’s said in the statement.

Schnatter has long attracted controversy, in large part because of his political viewpoints.

While he was the company’s CEO, his statements about the NFL dragged Papa John’s into the middle of a polarising debate, garnering backlash on the left and support on the right. Papa John’s announced in late December that Schnatter was stepping down as CEO and would be replaced by Steve Ritchie.

Schnatter also came under fire in 2012 for saying the Affordable Care Act could be “lose-lose” for Papa John’s franchisees and employees. The backlash was swift, with many promising to boycott Papa John’s in response to Schnatter’s comments.

Schnatter also donated $US1,000 to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, though he did not publicly express support for him.

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