Papa John's founder: I didn't eat 40 pizzas in 30 days, I 'had' 40 pizzas in 30 days

David K. Li

Former Papa John's CEO John Schnatter tried to clarify his wild statement that implied that he ate more than one whole pie a day for a month in criticizing the pizza giant he once controlled.

Back in November, Schnatter told WDRB, a Fox affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky, that he "had over 40 pizzas in the last 30 days" and concluded that Papa John's is "not the same pizza" since his ouster.

But this week, on the H3 Podcast, Schnatter said the verb "had" wasn't the same as "eaten."

"Well I didn't say I had eaten 40 pizzas in 30 days. I said I had 40 pizzas in 30 days," Schnatter said.

That's when host Ethan Klein pushed back, accusing Schnatter of playing fast and loose with his pizza lingo.

"Hold on, we're going to split hairs here? When I said 'I had a pizza,' that means I ate it," Klein said.

Then Schnatter pulled out a picture of a pizza and said "had" usually means he's "inspecting" a pie or eating just part of it.

"When I said I had a pizza, it means I'm inspecting," he said. "I'm not eating every pizza. I may be eating parts of pizzas."

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Schnatter said he now eats about eight or nine slices a week — but that he used to down 12 to 15 slices a week when he was running Papa John's.

Schnatter stepped down as CEO and left the board following reports that he uttered a racial slur during a conference call. He said his former company has failed in keeping up with its longtime slogan: "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza."

He vowed in his November interview with WDRB that he'd see "a day of reckoning" and that board members who forced him out would have to pay up.