A jury in Ohio has awarded a local bakery $11 million after the progressive Oberlin College falsely portrayed the bakery as racist.
According to a local news report, Oberlin College will be forced to pay $11 million to a local family bakery after the college participated in a community effort to falsely smear the bakery as racist. Breitbart News reported in December 2017 that the bakery had filed suit against the college for its role in perpetuating the notion that the bakery had improperly handled a shoplifting incident that took place in 2016.
In November 2016, three black Oberlin students were arrested for “punching and kicking the white shopkeeper” of Gibson’s Bakery during an alleged shoplifting attempt. In the aftermath of the incident, faculty and administrators at Oberlin College participated in a smear campaign against the bakery. Demonstrations were held on campus and the college provided resources including food and drink. These protests took place despite the fact that the students charged in the shoplifting and assault incident pled guilty, even admitting in their plea agreement that race played no role in the altercation that took place in the store.
“All the Gibsons ever wanted was for the truth to come out,” Gibson Bakery’s attorney, Lee Plakas, said. “All they ever asked from the beginning, from Oberlin College, was to use its power and influence and might to tell the truth, and that letter never came. But the jury sent the letter that was louder and more visible and more public. I think the Gibson family is grateful for that and grateful for the jury to have the courage to be able to send a letter that no one else would send for the last almost three years.”
Oberlin College’s attorney, Donica Thomas Varner, still maintains that the college never defamed the bakery. “We are disappointed with the verdict and regret that the jury did not agree with the clear evidence our team presented,” Varner said in a comment. “Neither Oberlin College nor Dean Meredith Raimondo defamed a local business or its owners, and they never endorsed statements made by others. Rather, the College and Dr. Raimondo worked to ensure that students’ freedom of speech was protected and that the student demonstrations were safe and lawful, and they attempted to help the plaintiffs repair any harm caused by the student protests.”
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