Papa John’s founder blames n-word scandal on ‘extortion’ attempt

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is punching back.

The pizza mogul who was accused of using racial slurs during an internal conference call with a marketing firm in May is now accusing that firm — Los Angeles-based Laundry Service — of trying to extort $6 million from the Louisville, Ky., chain to keep quiet about the call.

“They wanted $6 million to make it go away,” Schnatter told a local CBS affiliate.

“‘If I don’t get my f–king money, I’m going to bury the founder,’ said one of the executives,” Schnatter told WLKY. “I’m not for sale,” Schnatter continued. “We held firm and they ran to Forbes, which printed it.”

Laundry Service could not immediately be reached for comment.

Schnatter claims that Laundry Service leaked the details about the conference call to Forbes only after it did not receive a payment. The marketing firm informed him of its demand about two weeks after the conference call, he said during the WLKY interview.

Over the weekend, Schnatter was asked to leave his office at Papa John’s headquarters. A special committee of the board of directors requested the ouster and gave the 56-year-old founder 90 days to move out.

Papa John’s did not immediately respond for comment.

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