LOUISVILLE. KY (WAVE) - Papa John's founder is sending a message to his former employees after stepping down as chairman of the company.
John Schnatter launched a new website, savepapajohns.com, where he expresses his love for the company, employees and customers.
In an open letter on the site, he said the board will not let him talk to those employees, and that the website is his way of doing so.
He also said he does not want his image or likeness removed from buildings or other Papa John's assets.
Schnatter stepped down as chairman in July over the admitted use of a racial slur during a conference call, but said he was taken out of context.
Wednesday, a spokesman for the company shared a statement from the pizza giant:
Dan Hartlage, the Principal of Guthrie Mayes Public Relations, said he's never seen such a public back and forth between a founder and a company.
He hopes there's a period when both sides can lay low and rebuild trust with customers.
Hartlage told WAVE 3 News that happened in the case of other companies going through controversy, like Subway and Facebook.
"There are lots of employees and franchisees (of Papa John's)," Hartlage said. "And all of those people are just trying to get up in the morning and go to work and they're sort of like kids caught up in a really, really messy divorce."
He said it's important to the Louisville community that the company rebounds and gets back to what it does best -- making pizza.
"The company employs some 1,200 people in this town, over 100,000 nationally not to mention internationally," Hartlage said. "It's very important to the community as I see it, that they do continue to make and sell pizzas."