(SANFORD, Fla.) — Papa John’s Chairman and CEO John Schnatter apologized to a customer in Sanford, Fla., on Tuesday for a racist rant a Papa John’s delivery man inadvertently left on the customer’s voicemail.
After he delivered a pizza to the Sanford customer and his wife Sunday evening, the delivery man “butt dialed” the customer and left a voicemail message laden with racial slurs as he complained about his tip.
The customer posted a video on YouTube in which he showed the pizza delivery receipt, explaining he and his wife tipped 21 percent, “as usual.”
In the voicemail message, which lasts about four minutes, the Papa John’s employee complains to another Papa John’s employee about the $5 tip and uses the N-word and other racial expletives, which he also incorporated into a song about the customer.
“I guess that’s the only requirement for being a [N-word] in Sanford,” a city still reeling from racial tensions after the shooting of Trayvon Martin last year.
“Yeah, they give me five bucks there — fine outstanding African-American gentleman of the community,” the delivery man can be heard saying in the call.
His fellow co-worker laughed in response.
Schnatter posted an apology on Papa John’s Facebook page on Monday afternoon.
“Friends, I am extremely concerned to learn about the reprehensible language used by two former employees in one of our restaurants,” the Facebook post stated. “Their thinking and actions defy both my personal and the company’s values, and everything for which this company stands.”
Schnatter said the employees “responsible for this absolutely unacceptable behavior were immediately terminated.”
“My heartfelt apology goes out to the customer involved, his family and our community at large. I am very sorry that anyone would be exposed to these hurtful and painful words by any person involved in any way with our company,” Schnatter said.
A call to Papa John’s by ABC News for further comment was not immediately returned.
Many Facebook users who commented in response to Schnatter’s post applauded his public apology.
One Facebook user said Schnatter is “a CEO that actually takes responsibility for the actions of his employees. You can’t control employees, but you can take appropriate action.”
In January 2012, a customer was described on a paper receipt as “Lady Chink Eyes” by a Papa John’s employee in New York City.
Last month, a CVS customer in New Jersey filed a million-dollar lawsuit against CVS for being called, “Lee, Ching Chong”.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN