Papa John’s CEO Attempts Damage Control But Not An Apology

Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie had one job on Friday: Do injury management for the corporate after studies surfaced this week that founder John Schnatter used a racial slur in a convention name in May.

Schnatter did his half by resigning as chairman of the corporate’s board Wednesday and issuing an apology for saying n****rs” throughout what was imagined to be a media coaching session to forestall future press scandals.

After Schnatter resigned, it fell to Ritchie to point out that Papa John’s understood what had occurred and was resolved to make enhancements ― principally, Crisis Management 101.

Ritchie tried to try this within the type of an open letter posted on the corporate web site wherein he says the whole lot Papa John’s goes to do to make issues proper.

These actions embody retaining an impartial and outdoors knowledgeable to “audit all of our existing processes, policies and systems related to diversity and inclusion, supplier engagement and Papa John’s culture.”

Ritchie additionally mentioned the complete senior administration crew can even be visiting key places throughout the nation and maintain listening classes with staff to “talk about what they are seeing and give them a platform to voice their concerns.”

The firm will then “initiate two-way conversations to invite ongoing feedback from employees and franchisees to ensure that their voices are heard.”

But there was one factor not in Ritchie’s letter: a public apology on behalf of the corporate. 

The lack of an apology is an enormous mistake, in line with David Oates, a San Diego-based knowledgeable in disaster PR.

“This is not a good response,” Oates instructed HuffPost. “The fact is that even if the CEO or the Executive Team had nothing to do with the stupidity of its founder and chairman, they are still responsible for all communications ― internal and external ― that occur under its brand.”

Oates mentioned Ritchie’s letter fails to point out two issues which might be important in any disaster PR difficulty: empathy and motion.

“You don’t have to say you did something, but you do have to recognize that folks were hurt by the activities,” he mentioned.

The lack of empathy and motion in Ritchie’s letter simply provides to a notion that the corporate is tone-deaf by way of race relations, one thing that first got here to mild final yr.

During a Papa John’s earnings name, Schnatter blamed his firm’s lowered gross sales and lowered revenue forecast on the NFL’s failure to cease gamers protesting police brutality and racial injustice by taking a knee throughout the nationwide anthem.

That impressed the neo-Nazi web site The Daily Stormer to endorse Papa John’s because the official pizza of the self-proclaimed alt-right — an accolade the corporate rejected.

On Friday, Twitter customers responded to Ritchie’s open letter with numerous snark.

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