Wednesday July 18, 2018
News Topics

Restaurant Founder Claims Blackmail, Extortion, Lack of Context, and Improper Corporate Behavior

Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, claims in a letter to the pizza chain’s board of directors that his decision to step down from the board amid controversy over using offensive language on a conference call was “a mistake.”

The board of directors Sunday canceled Schnatter’s “founder” position and booted him from the company’s Louisville corporate headquarters.  Last week, the restaurateur separated from the University of Louisville board of trustees last week. University President Neeli Bendapudi also announced last Friday that the school will drop the Papa John’s name from its football stadium, calling it simply “Cardinal Stadium” while the company acted to remove Schnatter’s likeness from their logo and advertising materials.

Schnatter said that the board asked him “to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation.” Schnatter agreed to the board’s request, although now says in his letter, “today I believe it was a mistake to do so.

In his letter dated Saturday, Schnatter attempted to provide context for the use of his language during what the company’s former marketing agency called “diversity media training.”  The embattled company founder claims that he was, in fact, attempting to distance himself from the use of such racially charged language in response to questions from the agency about whether or not he was racist. In the letter, he states that he “said something on the order of, Colonel Sanders used the word “N,” (I actually used the word,) that I would never use that word and Papa John’s doesn’t use that word.

Schnatter continued on in the letter, claiming that the ad agency attempted to extort the company for millions more than what they were owed due to the offense taken by some of their employees over the founder’s comments. The Laundry Service, Schnatter claims, threatened to conduct a “smear campaign” unless they were paid $2.5 million – approximately twice what they were supposed to be paid.

The full text of Schnatter’s letter may be seen below:

 

Dear Fellow Board Member

 

I am writing because I believe it is important that you hear directly from me the facts and circumstances surrounding the events that were initially reported and mischaracterized in the July 11 Forbes story, “Papa John’s Founder used the ‘N’ word on Conference Call” and ultimately was carried in media across the country.

 

On May 14, Steve Richie, Mike Nettles, I and others in the company met with executives and staff of The Laundry Service, who shared their creative and strategy, at their offices in New York. As you know, we had been testing with significant success, my returning to the company’s advertising. On May 22, at their strong suggestion, I participated in what The Laundry Service called “diversity media training.” The idea was to prepare me for questions I might get as a result of my reappearance at NHRA on Saturday, May 26 in Chicago. (The Laundry Service, for those of you who don’t know, is an advertising and marketing agency which is part of the Wasserman Media Group.) During and after that meeting, The Laundry Service leadership strongly urged that our company retain Kayne West as my co-spokesman in the television spots and other promotions. I told them that would not work because he uses the “N” word in his lyrics.

 

During this diversity media training, which covered a wide number of topics, I was asked whether I was racist. I, of course said no — which is a truthful statement as those of you who know me well will attest and of course, if you felt otherwise you would not be sitting on the Papa John Board. I was asked if I was not racist, then why did I say what I did about the NFL situation? I said if you look at what I said, it was in no way racist. (The fact is, we completely mishandled the NFL situation from a public relations standpoint – both the Board of Directors and company leadership.) I then said something on the order of, Colonel Sanders used the word “N,” (I actually used the word,) that I would never use that word and Papa John’s doesn’t use that word. Earlier, I gave an example of a scarring experience I read about in Texas when I was growing up which further cemented my existing abhorrence of racism. The thought of this situation to this day sickens me. Let me be very clear: I never used the “N” word in that meeting as a racial epithet, nor would I ever.

I have talked to a Papa John’s employee who was in that room with me who confirmed my recollection of these events.

 

The next day, May 23, the company made the decision — not me — to fire the Laundry Service, with their last day being July 2. We owed them approximately $1.3 million. Of course, we said we would pay them what was owed, but they said they wanted $6 million because they claimed some of their people had been offended by what I had said. Moreover, one of their attorneys said they would conduct a smear campaign against the company and me unless we paid them what he was asking for. Unfortunately, the company gave in to this extortion attempt and offered them $2.5 million or roughly $1.2 million more than they were owed.

 

On July 10, we got a call from the Forbes reporter who wrote the above-referenced story. The reporter gave me 15 minutes to give him our comments and said he then was publishing the story. It published the next day. Please be assured, I am going to get the facts of this situation out, but we want to make sure we do it correctly.

 

The Board asked me to step down as chairman without apparently doing any investigation. I agreed, though today I believe it was a mistake to do so. I have checked with corporate governance experts who tell me that this was not a proper action by the Board. At the last meeting, a few of you raised the issue of whether I should step down as a director. Once again, those individuals were acting on rumor and innuendo, without any investigation — let alone a third-party investigation of the facts. And once again, the corporate governance experts with whom I consulted said this is not the proper action of either a director or the board.

 

I am confident that an examination of the facts will bear out what I have written in this letter and show that once again our company has demonstrated that it does not know how to handle a crisis based on misinformation. I will not allow either my good name or the good name of the company I founded and love to be unfairly tainted.

 

John

Celebrate World Emoji Day

It’s time to celebrate emojis – those cute, sometimes annoying little images included in text messages, tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram pics, and everywhere else in today’s connect world.

World Emoji Day is celebrated on July 17, a date chosen because it is the date shown on the “calendar” emoji on most systems, including Apple iPhones and iPads, Android phones, Google services, Mozilla-based browsers, and EmojiOne. It is worth mentioning, however, that some holdouts like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp aren’t on board with the July 17 emoji, opting to show a different date or a generic calendar page.

Growing out of old-school internet “emoticons” crafted from punctuation such as the :-) smile and ;-) wink, what we now know as emoji originated on mobile phones in Japan around 1999, before becoming increasingly popular worldwide nearly a decade later after being added to several major mobile operating systems. Emoji are now considered to be a large part of popular culture – in fact, in 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named the Face with Tears of Joy emoji the “‘Word’ of the Year.”

The minuscule pictograms are so popular that they even gave rise to the 2017 film, “The Emoji Movie,” featuring the voices of T. J. Miller, Anna Faris, Rob Riggle, Jennifer Coolidge, Christina Aguilera, Sofía Vergara, Patrick Stewart, and other big name stars.

The World Emoji Day website gives some background on the celebration and gives a few ideas of how you can mark the occasion, including tips on throwing an emoji-themed party.

So go ahead: text, tweet, and post your favorite emoji to everyone you know today using the hashtag #WorldEmojiDay.  And don’t forget to vote for your favorite in the World Emoji Awards.

 

Angela Leet Releases Statement on Crime Numbers

Mayoral candidate and current District 7 Councilwoman Angela Leet called the Fischer Administration’s claim that crime is down, “dishonest.”

This claim is absolutely disingenuous. During Fischer’s first year in office, there were 49 homicides in the county. Last year, there were 108 homicides in the county. This year, we are currently on track to double the number of homicides in Fischer’s first year. So seeing a tiny downtick in a few week’s time is not a victory when all Fischer has managed to do is set a new normal of more than a 100 homicides a year,” said Leet.

In a 2005 survey, Morgan Quitno Press ranked Louisville as the seventh safest large city in the United States with that rank dropping to number eight in the 2006 edition of the survey.  Lousiville, however, failed to make independent security review site SafeWise’s 2017 list of 50 Safest Metro Cities in America at all and came in at 106 in WalletHub’s 2017’s Safest Cities in America rankings.

Leet claimed that the legacy of the Fischer Administration would be that “homicides have doubled, shootings have doubled, and drug overdose deaths have tripled” under the oversight of the current mayor.

The LMPD historical homicide data does show a dramatic uptick in murders over the past several years. The highest number of murders since 1960, the earliest year in which data is available, was 2016’s record setting year with 122 homicides in Jefferson County, followed closely by 2017’s number of 116 total homicides.

Fischer’s first year in office, 2011, saw the lowest number of homicides since 2003. The several years following his tenure as Mayor showed measurably higher numbers before beginning their remarkable increase to the numbers seen in recent years.

Leet continued, “For the 10 years prior to Fischer taking office, U of L Hospital admitted an average of 166 gunshot victims per year. During the Fischer Administration, U of L Hospital has seen an average of over 200 shooting victims, and that average is over 300 for the last 2 years. 1700 people have been admitted to University of Louisville Hospital for gunshot wounds since Fischer took office. That does not even include victims who were not admitted.

Putting a rosy spin on crime numbers is nothing new, however. Last August we published the city’s release claiming that crime overall in Lousiville was down 4%, driven by large decreases in violent crimes such as rape and robbery, and smaller decreases in property crimes like larceny. The article, however, noted then that homicides were up by 20% over the previous year’s data.

However, Leet said of Fischer’s attempt “to spin a tale of ‘crime is down'” in a year in which he is up for reelection, “I am disappointed that Fischer is manipulating numbers and denying the reality of drug and gang issues in our neighborhoods.

The WAVE 3 News Abbey Road on the River will return to the Big Four Station Park in Jeffersonville, Indiana on Memorial Day weekend, May 24-28, 2018. For the 17th year, the music festival will bring together 60 bands and 20,000 fans from around the world to enjoy five days of peace, love and rock-n-roll – all inspired by The Beatles.

Grammy-winning rock group America will perform their hits “A Horse with No Name,” “Ventura Highway,” and “Sister Golden Hair” and more on Saturday, May 26th. Like The Beatles, America found great success in working with producer George Martin and recording engineer Geoff Emerick, who were both extremely influential on the band’s sound during the 1970’s. The fathers of psychedelic rock Vanilla Fudge, “Ticket to Ride” and “You Keep Me Hanging On,” will also headline the event, with shows on both Friday, May 25th and Saturday, May 26th.

The Beatles’ audio engineer and four time Grammy-winner Geoff Emerick will give a presentation at 10:00am S aturday, May 26th, addressing the creative process of the band in the studio and how he achieved the sounds on their most famous and beloved songs. At the age of 19, Geoff Emerick became the Beatles’ chief audio engineer and is the man responsible for their distinctive sound on the Revolver, Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road albums, considered by many to be some of the greatest rock recordings of all time.

The 2018 festival will also present special concerts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The White Album, which was mostly written in India while the band was studying meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The festival favorite LOVE Album show will return on Sunday, May 27th with a live concert performed note-for-note just as the compilation was arranged by the late Sir George Martin.

The WAVE 3 News Abbey Road on the River will feature more than 60 bands performing on eight indoor and outdoor stages. Festival attendees can also enjoy a playground area for children, a Beatles merchandise marketplace, interactive art installations, on-site food and bar services, and art and craft vendors. General admission tickets are just $20 if purchased in advance with the discount code “Wave 3 News.” More information can be found online at www.arotr.com.

The WAVE 3 News Abbey Road on the River is produced with support from Wave 3 News, Budweiser, Bud Light, Four Roses, Southern Indiana Tourism (SoIN), Crosley, Gretsch Guitars, Fidelity Investments, The City of Jeffersonville, Jeffersonville Parks and Recreation, Buckhead Mountain Grill, Louisville Magazine, Louisville.com, Clark Memorial Hospital, Koetter Construction, Octopus’s Garden, V.G. Reed Printing, 91.9 WFPK Relics, and WAKY 103.5.

11 nights and 26 bands: from retro pop to hip hop, gospel to rock, and country to soul.

The Kentucky State Fair announces the lineup of the all-new Texas Roadhouse Concert Series, which runs throughout the fair, Aug. 16-26. The series features a wide range of musical artists with a different concert every night, for a total of 26 bands. This year all concerts at the Kentucky State Fair are free with paid gate admission. Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse is a new sponsor to the Kentucky State Fair.

“We are proud to be the presenting sponsor for the Kentucky State Fair Concert Series. Music and the State Fair go together like fresh rolls and honey cinnamon butter,” said Kent Taylor founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse.

The Texas Roadhouse Concert Series debuts at Bluegrass Village, a new entertainment venue at the fair. Adjacent to Kentucky Kingdom, the new setting adds local food vendors, two stages and highlights a variety of Kentucky’s distilled and crafted beverages and products.

“Moving the concerts from Freedom Hall and Cardinal Stadium to a new entertainment area provides fairgoers a value-added experience,” said Dr. Mark Lynn, chairman of the Kentucky State Fair Board.  “And with Texas Roadhouse on board as a major entertainment sponsor enhances the experience for our 600,000 guests all eleven days of the fair.”

The Texas Roadhouse Concert Series lineup is:

  • Thursday, August 16 – Gary Allan with special guest Walker Montgomery
  • Friday, August 17 – 112 with special guest Midnight Star
  • Saturday, August 18 – Great White with special guests Vixen and GoldylockS
  • Sunday, August 19 – The Oak Ridge Boys with special guests Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers
  • Monday, August 20 – Casting Crowns with special guests Bonray
  • Tuesday, August 21 – Happy Together Tour
  • Wednesday, August 22 – Chris Janson with special guest Carly Pearce
  • Thursday, August 23 – Chevelle with special guest The Cunning
  • Friday, August 24 – Josh Turner with special guest Dillon Carmichael
  • Saturday, August 25 – The Commodores
  • Sunday, August 26 – Mercy Me with special guest Stars Go Dim

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An online video has taken the internet by storm after being posted to an online discussion board.

Reddit user RolandCamry posted the video which poses a seemingly simple question: “What do you guys hear?,” along with a short audio clip of a voice saying a single word.  Puzzlingly, different people are hearing vastly different words from the same clip. Some listeners hear the name “Laurel” while others hear “Yanny,” “Harry,” or something else altogether.

Take a listen for yourself and let us know what YOU hear.

What Do You Hear?

View Results

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Meet Letterman — a new 3-year-old male southern white rhinoceros comes to the Louisville Zoo from The Wilds in southeast Ohio. The rhino was named by Jack Hanna after the late night television host and comedian David Letterman. Letterman was born on November 12, 2014 at The Wilds.

Letterman has completed his standard 30-day quarantine and will soon join 34-year-old female Sindi in the exhibit. As with any new animal introductions, the rhinos will be monitored. Introductions of unfamiliar rhinos can often result in sparring from both males and females, which is normal behavior. These normal interactions and dynamics in a rhino group can occasionally result in a superficial injury. The rhinos are regularly evaluated by the Zoo’s veterinary staff and any observed injuries are treated under their expert care. Once the rhinos are familiar with each other and their roles are established, they will usually engage in calmer interactions.

White rhinoceros are the largest land mammal after the elephant and the largest species of rhinoceros. Their range is southern Africa. The typical weight of a white rhinoceros is between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds. Adult white rhinos have no natural predators, other than humans, due to their size. White rhinoceros are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to the continued poaching threat and increasing illegal demand for horns.

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