Papa John’s Founder Sues His Own Pizza Chain

July 27, 2018 Updated: July 27, 2018

NEW YORK—John Schnatter, the founder and ousted former chairman of Papa John’s International, on Thursday, July 26, sued the pizzeria chain, complaining that the company had not provided adequate response to an earlier request for internal documents.

The complaint filed in Delaware Chancery Court comes after a request by Schnatter and his attorneys access to company documents to inspect accusations of inappropriate behavior.

“Mr. Schnatter’s attorneys are seeking to inspect Company documents because of the unexplained and heavy-handed way in which the Company has treated him since the publication of a story that falsely accused him of using a racial slur,” Schnatter’s attorneys said in a statement.

John H. Schnatter, founder and ousted former chairman of Papa John’s International, Inc. on January 31, 2014 in New York City. (Rob Kim/Getty Images)

The lawsuit is the latest installation in a weeks-long drama surrounding the pizza chain following a report by Forbes this month that Schnatter had used a racial slur during a media training call.

“Colonel Sanders called blacks [expletive],” Schnatter reportedly said during an exchange on how he could separate himself from online hate groups.

Schnatter resigned as chairman of the company’s board amid the controversy, though he would later say he regretted his decision to step down.

By Alana Wise