Papa John's is reportedly purging its stores of all signs of its founder

  • Papa John's is in the process of removing all images of founder and former CEO John Schnatter from its more than 5,000 stores.

  • Store owners have been instructed to remove images including Schnatter's signature from oven paddles, a picture with NFL star Peyton Manning, and his face on the side of delivery vans, the New York Post reported.

  • Schnatter is currently suing the pizza chain that he founded.

The board of Papa John's has reportedly ordered the removal of all symbols of founder John Schnatter from its 5,215 outlets.

Schnatter resigned as chairman of the company's board on July 11, after Forbes reported he had used the N-word in a conference call in May. He was later booted out of the company's offices and removed from its corporate marketing campaign and logo.

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According to a seven-page email leaked to the New York Post, the board is demanding that franchisees remove Schnatter's signature from oven paddles, photos of Schnatter and Peyton Manning, and Schnatter's face from the side of delivery vans. Schnatter's signature will reportedly be replaced with images of vegetables and cheese on boards, according to the Post.

Manning sold his stake in 31 Papa John's franchises earlier this year, after Schnatter blamed NFL players' national-anthem protests for a drop in sales.

The cut-outs of Manning are not being replaced. Images of Schnatter explaining how the pizzas are made will also be thrown out.

Schnatter has since said he regrets stepping down as chairman of the Papa John's board and that he felt he was pushed into using the word by Laundry Service, the marketing firm that was on the conference call.

Schnatter is now suing the pizza chain he founded. He is demanding to see internal documents related to the fallout because of the "unexplained and heavy-handed way in which the company has treated him since the publication of a story that falsely accused him of using a racial slur," a spokesperson for his attorney, Patricia Glaser, wrote in an email to Business Insider.

Forbes published a follow-up report in which current and former Papa John's employees accused Schnatter of inappropriate sexual behavior. According to employees, Schnatter and other executives helped create a toxic culture at the company. Schnatter denied many of the allegations.

"A special committee of the Board of Directors, comprised solely of independent directors, has retained an outside firm to oversee an audit and investigation of the culture at the company and to make recommendations for whatever changes may be necessary," Papa John's said in a statement to Business Insider following Forbes' report.

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