In recently opened court documents, Papa John’s former CEO John Schnatter took direct aim at the pizza company’s former media agency, Laundry Service, for playing a key role in his ouster from the company he founded, according to Ad Age.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky recently unsealed an amended complaint that Schnatter filed alleging that the former CEO of the Brooklyn, New York-based Laundry Service, Jason Stein, and others at the agency spoke together after a media training call in May 2018, when — according to a July 2018 Forbes story — Schnatter was alleged to have used the N-word. Schnatter’s complaint said that after the call, the agency discussed how Schnatter’s alleged use of the racial slur on the call could be used to tarnish his image so he could be “sent out to pasture,” the complaint quotes Stein as saying in that post-call discussion.
Of course, after the story broke nationally, Schnatter relinquished his role as chair of the company and was deleted from Papa John’s marketing. Schnatter sued Laundry Service and its parent company, Wasserman Media Group, in 2019 and later alleged that he possessed a recording of Laundry Service leaders conspiring to “damage” his reputation.
The unsealed amended complaint said Laundry Service employees planned to put Schnatter in a lengthy interview with a “hostile” member of the media to get Schnatter to make damaging statements, according to the complaint.
Neither Laundry Service nor Wasserman opted to comment on the latest developments, while Stein’s representative failed to respond to Ad Age.
Schnatter’s complaint said the Laundry Service conversation was recorded, but also alleged that Laundry Service’s Human Resources told the person who had the recording to delete it.