(Reuters) – Papa John’s International Inc (PZZA.O) will remove founder John Schnatter from its promotions, the pizza chain said on Friday, and baseball team New York Yankees suspended business relationships with the company.
Schnatter on Wednesday resigned from the company as chairman of the board after he used a racial slur on a conference call.
Papa John’s said its decision to remove Schnatter from advertisements is the first of several steps to rebuild trust “from the inside-out”.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Ritchie said the company would hire an independent expert to audit all of its processes, policies and systems related to diversity and inclusion.
“In response to the reprehensible remarks made by Papa John’s founder and owner, the New York Yankees are suspending their relationship with the company,” it said in a tweet.
Baseball team Seattle Mariners in a tweet said on Thursday it would cut ties with the pizza chain.
Schnatter, who founded the company in 1984, also came under fire in November after he criticized the National Football League’s leadership over national anthem protests by players.
Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel