Steve Ritchie announced steps Papa John’s is taking in the aftermath of reports that the pizza chain’s founder John Schnatter used a racial slur in a corporate meeting.

The lack of an apology is a big mistake, according to David Oates, a San Diego-based expert in crisis PR.

“This is not a good response,” Oates told HuffPost. “The fact is that even if the CEO or the Executive Team had nothing to do with the stupidity of its founder and chairman, they are still responsible for all communications ― internal and external ― that occur under its brand.”

Oates said Ritchie’s letter fails to show two things that are essential in any crisis PR issue: empathy and action.


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