John Schnatter, the founder and public face of Papa John's pizza, apologized Wednesday for using the N-word on a conference call in May.
Forbes reported earlier that he used the racial slur while participating in a role-playing exercise designed to prevent public relations crises.
In a statement issued through the company, Schnatter said: "News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true. Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society."
According to the account in Forbes, Schnatter was on a call with Laundry Service, a marketing agency, and was asked how he planned to manage future public relations flare-ups.
Schnatter caused controversy last year when he said that Papa John's pizza sales were hurt by the NFL's handling of players' kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of racial injustice. He stepped down as CEO two months after the comments. He remains chairman of the board.