LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18)– In the midst of corporate chaos, the founder of pizza giant, Papa John’s, faces more allegations of questionable
Forbes magazine reports claims of sexual misconduct and a "toxic culture" after a number of interviews with current and former employees.
After Forbes broke the news that Papa John’s founder John Schnatter used a racist slur during a conference call… Schnatter resigned as chairman, major league baseball pushed to end its relationship with the pizza giant, and UofL took the company name off its stadium.
Now, Forbes reveals 37 current and former employees are claiming everything from Schnatter spying on workers to sexual misconduct, which led to at least two confidential settlements.
The investigation also claims company leaders like CEO Steve Ritchie, who just promised customers he would restore trust, helped sShnatter enable a "bro" culture, where female employees were mocked and subjected to harassing behavior from male executives.
Papa John’s responded saying in part, they retained, "an outside firm to oversee an audit and investigation of the culture at the company."
Schnatter’s attorney says of the Forbes investigation, " the story contains numerous inaccuracies and misrepresentations."
So now what?
Indiana University Southeast professor, Tammy Voigt, says almost any brand in controversy can recover.
Chick-fil-A endured a boycott after its COO spoke out against same sex marriage, and Subway had a convicted child molester in its longtime former spokesman Jared Fogel.
"If it happened, it happened, don’t insult a stakeholders intelligence by saying that’s not really what we meant or that’s not really what you heard, own up to it," Voight said.
Voigt says overall consumers are forgiving, but there’s an inherent risk having someone as the face of a brand, because people make mistakes.