Dear John: So looks like we’re now in, what? Week eight of the Papa John’s shenanigans? Week eight. And no signs of slowing down as the two entities, Papa John’s, and its founder and former CEO and chairman, John Schnatter, exchange a pair of sternly worded letters.

Mr. Schnatter contends he’s being scapegoated for all the company’s woes and continues to blast Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie, says CBS News, Reuters and USA Today.

In a letter to franchisees on Monday posted to his site, Mr. Schnatter writes:

The source of the company’s poor performance is rot at the top. The company’s HR department has detailed evidence of sexual misconduct, harassment and intimidation by virtually everyone in Steve’s inner circle, and relating to Board members as well.

He also asserts that the company wanted him back as executive chairman, which the company refutes. In an email to USA Today and others, Papa John’s released a statement saying:

Once again, John Schnatter is making untrue and disparaging statements in a self-serving attempt to distract from the damaging impact his own words and actions have had on the company and our stakeholders.


At no time has the board asked John Schnatter to become executive chairman. In fact, the company has taken multiple steps to separate itself from him.

And then Papa John’s drafted a letter of its own, blasting Mr. Schnatter, says CNN Money and The Hill.

An independent committee of the Papa John’s board of directors wrote:

John Schnatter has demonstrated a continued pattern of ignoring decisions of the Board, both in his role as CEO and as nonexecutive Chairman of the Board.

In November, before this current story, Mr. Schnatter criticized the NFL for not taking action against player protests.

The Board specifically directed John Schnatter not to talk about the NFL controversy related to the national anthem on the 2017 third quarter earnings call. In direct defiance of these instructions, John Schnatter made unscripted comments about the NFL controversy.

The Takeout asks: “This Papa John’s thing is never going to be over, is it?”

No. No it’s not.

Unless the company’s debt comes crashing down, says CNBC as it warns: “Papa John’s investors may want to pay closer attention to company’s debt levels — not its fight with founder.”

From the article:

The falling pizza sales and bad publicity have left the company at risk of breaching its lending agreements on $579 million in outstanding debt if it can’t turn things around in coming months.

So that could do it.

Bucket of Thrones: KFC goes big in its new Double Crispy Colonel Sandwich promotion this week, enlisting the help of Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane on “Game of Thrones,” says Esquire, IGN and SYFY.

He’s also the World’s Strongest Man. That’s not hyperbole; he’s got the trophy to prove it.

Those guys are large.

For the KFC promotion, Mr. Björnsson, dressed as an oversized “Double Colonel,” pulled 700 pounds worth of chicken sandwiches on a cart.

They say it’s a new world record, but an easy one for Mr. Björnsson; he dead lifts cars and does his own truck pulls, which the video says weighs 13 tons:

He also eats 10,000 calories a day when he’s training, so you know, he could probably eat the 700 pounds of chicken once he’s pulled it over to him.

And so that was plenty to talk about, I thought.

But then this happened: KFC is offering $11,000 toward college tuition to the first family to name their kid Harland born September 9, says Forbes, Today, Money, USA Today and The Nerdist.

Colonel Harland Sanders was born Sept. 9, 1890. The $11,000 represents the 11 herbs and spices. By the time baby Harland’s old enough for college, that $11,000 will probably only get you, like, half a semester at a state school, but it’s a great story.

Sexist State: A new study looks at sexist attitudes and environments by state and the role those beliefs play on the women who live there, says The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Arkansas comes in as the most sexist; New Hampshire, the least.

Of course, Arkansas. Kentucky, we’re in the clear, so that’s … well, no. Not so fast, Kentucky. We’re No. 6, behind Arkansas, Utah, Alabama, West Virginia, and Tennessee.

Researchers from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and National University Singapore used eight questions to measure attitudes toward gender from the General Social Survey, a tool that’s been around since the 1970s to measure what Americans think on just about everything.

Their paper, “The Effects of Sexism on American Women: The Role of Norms vs. Discrimination,” asserts where someone lives or lived affect outcomes on just about everything from wages and mobility to when they’re likely to get married and when they’re likely to have kids.

From the study:

Sexism in a woman’s state of birth and in her current state of residence both lower her wages and likelihood of labor force participation, and lead her to marry and bear her first child sooner.

Sexism where she was born, which we call background sexism, affects a woman’s outcomes even after she is an adult living in another market through the influence of norms that she internalized during her formative years.

Sentenced: George Garofano, the last of the men involved in the celebrity hacking of 2014, received an eight-month prison sentence this week, says CNN, BBC, The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard.

The 26-year-old Connecticut man pleaded guilty back in April for posing as Apple security to get usernames and passwords and used that to compromise more than 250 iCloud accounts. Some of those accounts belonged to some pretty famous people — Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton and more — and allowed some very personal photographs to become very public.

Jennifer Lawrence spoke out about the incident in 2014, referring to the phishing scheme as a sex crime rather than scandal. This year, speaking of the nudity in her film “Red Sparrow,” she referenced the incident once more.

Variety talked to her at the film’s premiere back in February:

The insecurity and fear of being judged for getting nude, what I went through, should that dictate decisions I make for the rest of my life?

This movie changed that and I didn’t even realize how important changing that mentality was until it was done. But I also really challenged myself in ways that I never really had before. The foreign accent. The dancing. It was really taking on a very different leaf.

Goodbyes: We bid farewell this week to the horse racing legend John Asher this week, who died of a heart attack while on vacation. He was 62.

John Asher

Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery said in a statement:

To say that racing has lost one of its giants with the passing of John Asher does not begin to capture the impact this man has had and will continue to have on the Churchill Downs family. His passion for the Kentucky Derby, horse racing, his WKU Hilltoppers, great music, and above all else his loving family was genuine and infectious. Racing has lost an icon.

So true. For my entire life when thinking of Derby or Churchill Downs or even horse racing in general, Mr. Asher was the face and voice of that thought. I imagine that’s true and will always be true for a good number of people.

And Broadway legend Neil Simon took his final bow on Sunday. He was 91.

And we say our final farewell to Sen. John McCain. He was 81.

Said former President Barack Obama:

Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means.

Godspeed, gentlemen.

See you next week.