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Papa John’s Founder Apologizes After Reportedly Using Slur

Papa John’s Founder Apologizes After Reportedly Using Slur

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is apologizing after reportedly using a racial slur during a conference call in May.

The apology Wednesday comes after Forbes cited an anonymous source saying the pizza chain’s marketing firm broke ties with the company afterward.

Forbes said Schnatter used the N-word during a media training exercise. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word.

In a statement released by Louisville, Kentucky-based Papa John’s, Schnatter said reports attributing use of “inappropriate and hurtful” language to him were true.

“Regardless of the context, I apologize,” the statement says.

The University of Louisville also said Wednesday that Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees, effective immediately.

Schnatter stepped down as CEO last year after blaming slowing sales growth on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem. He remains chairman of the company he started when he turned a broom closet at his father’s bar into a pizza spot.

Papa John’s shares fell nearly 5 percent Wednesday after the report, closing at $48.33.

Uber’s Chief Human Resources Officer Abruptly Steps Down

Uber’s chief human resources officer has abruptly stepped down.

Liane Hornsey told employees in an email obtained by The Associated Press Wednesday that she is leaving the company but gave no reason.

Hornsey writes that employees may think the decision came out of the blue, but she has been thinking about leaving for a while. The company would not comment on the reason for her departure. She did not immediately return a telephone message Wednesday from The Associated Press.

The departure comes amid CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s efforts to change the ride-hailing service’s culture to prevent repeated misbehavior including widespread sexual misconduct under former CEO Travis Kalanick.

“Together our team has lived up to our cultural norm of doing the right thing,” Hornsey’s email said.

In a separate email, Khosrowshahi praised Hornsey for releasing the company’s first diversity report and ushering in equal pay for all employees. She’s been with the company since January of last year.

Hornsey was hired from Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank in January of 2017.She also had spent nearly a decade leading Google’s human resources department.

She was hired just weeks before a female former Uber engineer penned a blog exposing sexual harassment that included propositions from her boss. The blog by Susan Fowler said that her complaints to the Human Resources department were ignored.

The company fired 20 people including some managers after an investigation by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm.

In an interview with The Associated Press last year, Hornsey said she wasn’t aware of widespread sexual harassment when she took the job, and it didn’t come up in early group listening sessions with employees. But such allegations were mentioned on the company’s human resources complaint hotline and in one-on-one conversations, she said.

“This is not just something people talk about en masse. For us it’s eradiation. There are no half measures at all. We’ve kept a hotline and we have very, very robust ways of people raising issues confidentially,” she said.

Loon and Wing Graduate from Alphabet’s ‘Moonshot Factory’

Two of Alphabet’s high-flying startups are leaving the nest.

Loon and Wing are graduating from X, Alphabet’s secretive incubator known as the “moonshot factory.” Loon aims to deliver internet signals via high-altitude balloons, while Wing builds airborne delivery drones.

By graduating, they are considered full-fledged businesses and will be part of Alphabet’s “other bets,” aside from the company’s main cash cow, Google. They join companies like smart-thermostat maker Nest, health-data firm Verily and self-driving car company Waymo.

Astro Teller, X’s captain of moonshots, says on a blog that the two companies now “seem a long way from crazy” after having started as X projects several years ago.

Loon, for instance, provided internet service from the stratosphere to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island last year.

Twitter to Remove Suspicious Accounts from Follower Counts

Twitter says it will begin removing suspicious accounts it has locked from its counts of users’ followers.

Twitter users are likely to see a reduction in their follower counts in the coming days. For many, this will amount to a reduction of four followers or less. But large accounts of celebrities and public figures could see bigger drops.

An account that’s been locked can’t tweet, like or retweet posts, and it won’t be shown ads.

The company said Wednesday that the move will not affect its number of monthly or daily active user figures. In the first three months of the year, it had 336 million active users.

Twitter has been working to remove fake accounts, bots and abusive posts from its service.

ECB Taking Action to Reduce Bad Loans at Eurozone Banks

The European Central Bank said Wednesday it is taking further steps to address the problem of bad loans burdening bank finances and clogging the flow of credit to the economy.

The ECB said it would set expectations for each financial institution on putting aside adequate cash reserves to cover business loans that aren’t likely to be repaid on time or in full.

Soured loans have been a problem in Europe as they have hindered economic growth and complicated the political efforts to strengthen the setup of the euro.

Banks with large amounts of bad loans are less likely to make new loans, cutting off credit to businesses and restraining growth. Lingering piles of bad loans — most notably in Italy — have also provided ammunition to opponents of deposit insurance at the European Union level. Such deposit insurance would make the eurozone financial system more resistant to panics. But German officials have resisted the proposal, saying risks of bank trouble must first be removed from the system.

The new measure covers banks’ pre-existing loans; new loans were addressed by new financial reserve requirements in March. Banks would be expected to bring their coverage of pre-existing bad loans into line with set-asides covering new ones, but without a fixed timeline.

The ECB said banks would be expected to comply over “the medium term,” without providing more detail, and their requirements would take into account levels of bad loans at other “comparable” financial institutions.

The ECB said Europe’s new system of banking regulation, in which supervision of the most significant banks was transferred to the ECB from national regulators, had already reduced bad loans from 8 percent of outstanding loans in 2014 to 4.9 percent last year.

Nevertheless, the ECB said that the current level of bad loans “remains far too high compared to international standards.”

Woman Being Sentenced in Oil Pipeline Protest Shooting

A Denver woman accused of shooting at officers during protests in North Dakota against the Dakota Access oil pipeline is finding out how long she’ll spend in a federal prison.

Red Fawn Fallis is being sentenced Wednesday afternoon in Bismarck. Prosecutors are recommending seven years in prison, though federal Judge Daniel Hovland could give her up to 15 years.

Authorities accused Fallis of firing a handgun three times while resisting arrest in October 2016. No one was hurt. She pleaded guilty Jan. 22 to civil disorder and a weapons charge. Prosecutors agreed to drop another weapons charge.

The months of protests drew thousands of pipeline opponents and resulted in 761 arrests, but it didn’t stop the project. The pipeline has been moving North Dakota oil to Illinois for a year.

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