“The morning after detailing is martyrdom, Schnatter wants to show off his mansion.”
In a new Bloomberg interview, deposed Papa John’s pizza company founder John Schnatter still yammers about his delusional dream of returning to lead the company.
It will never happen. Schnatter laughably spotlighted himself instead of pizza in Papa John’s TV commercials for years. Once company directors started easing him out of the ads to focus on showing the product, Schnatter got his feelings hurt and created his own commercials. He paid to run them in certain markets to “prove” that viewers wanted to see him, not just pizza.
To bolster his on screen presence, Schnatter courted popular sports personalities to share the stage with him on Papa John’s commercials. NFL stars Peyton Manning and J.J. Watt, sportscaster Jim Nantz, NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon, and others became franchisees of the company. Schnatter hoped to elevate his B-celebrity status by paying millions of dollars to A-celebs to hang out with him.
As his circle of famous “friends” grew, so did his penchant for espousing his opinions on earnings calls and media appearances. Schnatter couldn’t understand that people didn’t want political musings from him, they just wanted pizza. Yet he repeatedly jeopardized the company’s public image with callous comments and lecherous personal behavior.
Ultimately, Schnatter flushed away his position by using the n-word in a conference call meant to train him to stuff his caustic comments. That was the final straw after Schnatter’s prior comments whining about the costs of granting employee healthcare and racial injustice demonstrations at NFL games.
He had long been accused of hitting on the wives of friends and business associates. Local media pounced on an undisclosed monetary settlement with a woman Schnatter allegedly frolicked with at his home while Mrs. Schnatter was out of town. Bloomberg also noted that Schnatter settled another legal challenge with a different woman.
After John Schnatter’s ousting from Papa John’s corporate headquarters and subsequent family challenges, his wife filed for divorce.
Peyton Manning, Jeff Gordon, and the other celebrity endorsers cut ties with Papa John’s and John Schnatter.
There weren’t many local friends for Papa John, either. He’d steamrolled over many Louisville business people and fired a long list of excellent executives. Schnatter had public battles with competitor Pizza Hut, owned by Louisville-based Yum! Brands, scrapping over claims made in advertisements.
After being jettisoned from the Papa John’s universe, Schnatter lashed out at company executives and their selection of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal as the new spokesperson. He just couldn’t fathom that Papa John’s could go on without his face plastered all over their ads, pizza boxes, store signs, and marketing materials.
But Shaq is highly regarded and does not court controversy. The company has scored a hit with the Big Shaq branded oversized pizza. Business is booming again.
Schnatter is still claiming a “day of reckoning” is coming from those who pushed him out of the company he founded 40 years ago. He does occasional media interviews where his persecution complex overrides all other messaging.
The Bloomberg writer took multiple shots at Schnatter’s clueless narcissism: “I’m Papa John! This is not going to blow over!” He also notes that 60-year-old Schnatter dabbles in social media to brag about owning a helicopter, a garish foyer sculpture, and other materialism.
“Messiah Complex” is not an outlandish description of John Schnatter’s persona. He told Bloomberg that his ouster from Papa John’s was “a crucifixion,” a universal term applied almost exclusively to the killing of Jesus Christ.
Schnatter signs off social media posts with “Papa Bless” like an infallible religious leader offering heavenly boosts for commoners/followers of his TikTok and Instagram accounts.
TikTok videos often show off the Schnatter home in Anchorage, east of Louisville.
But nothing could sting more than the 2×4 in the face that comedian Stephen Colbert delivered to Schnatter at the height of his callous dismissal of healthcare for his employees.
At the end of the Bloomberg interview, Schnatter speculates that Papa John’s current executives are scrambling to hide their misdeeds in abject fear that the “day of reckoning” will bring Schnatter back to power.
Schnatter claims to have taste tested 800 pizzas since his ouster, but his ludicrous thought that he’ll someday return to lead Papa John’s suggests he’s tasting 800 inebriants.
📻 My complete interview with @PapaJohns founder John Schnatter. No topics off limits. N-word, who fired whom, @UofL, @NFL “divorce” #philanthropy Who fired Jurich & Pitino, much more 🎙️ https://t.co/cTbrabOfsZ #Louisville #business #loumedia pic.twitter.com/L1HGzQP0Qe
— Terry Meiners (@terrymeiners) July 13, 2018