Papa John's: Customers calling us racist makes us do better

Papa John's says in a new ad that longtime customers' anger directed at the company over founder and former CEO John Schnatter's racially charged comments has made the company "better."

In a short video posted to Twitter, the company displayed tweets condemning Schnatter's reported use of the "N-word," as well as his comments blaming NFL players' protests during the national anthem for low pizza sales.

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"Blaming players for dog whistle racism was a hack move," one message displayed in the video read.

"Remember when we were actually making progress on civil rights issues?" another read.

"Thank you for your criticism," the company wrote. "Thank you for your honesty. It is making us better."

In a statement accompanying the video's release Friday, the company's new CEO Steve Ritchie announced the steps the company says it will take to "earn back [customers'] trust."

"An independent cultural audit and investigation of our diversity and inclusion practices is underway, with actionable recommendations to follow," Ritchie says in the statement.

"Recently, the Papa John’s leadership team completed unconscious bias training. We will be rolling out the program across the company. I am personally committed to adding more diversity to the leadership team of Papa John’s," he added.

The company faced criticism earlier this year after Schnatter reportedly used the "N-word" during a conference call in May. 

Schnatter ultimately resigned from his post in mid-July. He said days later, however, that his decision was a mistake, and has fought the company's efforts to force him to give up his stake in the company.