The 58-year-old pizza mogul calls his home the "Papa Castle"

By Hannah Chubb
May 13, 2020 03:34 PM
Credit: Rick Diamond/ACMA2012/Getty; Papa John/TikTok

“Papa” John Schnatter may no longer be the king of his pizza empire — but he’s still living in the castle that his pies built.

The disgraced Papa John’s founder and former CEO — who resigned in 2018 following backlash over his use of a racial slur on a conference call — recently joined the video-sharing social media site TikTok, and is using it to give fans a look inside his anything-but-ordinary home. 

On Tuesday, the 58-year-old posted a 55-second-long video (below) showing off his mansion, captioned “Tour of the Papa Castle Part 1." He also added the hashtags #mycrib, #finalsathome, #fyp and #boredinthehouse. 

The “Papa Castle” is located in a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky, where the Indiana native has lived for many years, and sits on nearly 16 acres of land. USA Today reported last year that it's the most expensive property in Louisville, and cost Schnatter $11 million. 

Credit: Papa John/TikTok

“Howdy,” Schnatter says at the beginning of the video, opening his enormous double front doors. He points to himself with his thumbs and says, “Papa John. Welcome to my crib.” He wears a red t-shirt that reads “Papa” in white lettering (which, according to another TikTok video, is part of his merch collection).

The video then cuts to aerial footage of the mansion, showing off the massive footprint of the stone home. Lush greenery and a moat surround the turret-dotted property.  

Credit: Papa John/TikTok
Credit: Papa John/TikTok
Credit: Papa John/TikTok

Back inside the house, Schnatter guides the camera through his ornately decorated front foyer, featuring high ceilings, long coral curtains and embellished stone flooring. 

In the middle of the foyer is a huge sculpture of two eagles (Schnatter is just a bit taller than the base) that he claims depicts the birds mating while falling through the air. The former businessman explains that it is not just a sculpture, but a clock. Or, more specifically, “an eagles mating clock” that he says “spins four times an hour.”

Credit: Papa John/TikTok

“Eagles go up several thousand feet and mate all the way down. Right before they hit, they separate so they don’t get hurt or killed,” he says. “Perfect timing.” 

He then moves over to the closed doors of a room off the foyer, which he explains is his library. “This is where I film a lot of footage, this is where I work and write letters,” he says. He then pretends he’s about to open the engraved wood doors, then stops, teasing: “Stay tuned, you gotta keep following. Maybe next time.” 

The video has been viewed more than 1.1 million times on TikTok since being posted on Tuesday. 

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Papa John’s announced Schnatter's resignation as chairman of the board in July 2018. The former face of the pizza chain had reportedly used the n-word during a May 2018 call between company executives and a marketing agency called Laundry Service.

On the call, Schnatter was reportedly asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online. “Colonel Sanders called blacks n—s,” Schnatter allegedly said on the call, referring to the KFC founder.

Credit: Rob Kim/Getty

In a statement at the time, Schnatter did not deny the allegations. “News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” he said. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”

Schnatter filed a lawsuit in December 2019 against Laundry Service claiming his use of the slur was taken out of context, and that he had said it only to illustrate that this was not the type of language he condoned.

He had already stepped down as CEO of the company in December 2017. In November of that year, Schnatter faced a backlash after he blamed the chains' decline in sales on the NFL national anthem protests while on an annual earnings call. “The NFL has hurt us. We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this,” he said.

The May 2018 call was intended to be an exercise meant to prevent similar issues in the future.