By Ophelia Garrett
A progressive school falsely accused a family-owned business of being racist. Now they’ve had to pay a hefty fine.
Back in November 2016, Oberlin College sided with 3 students who claimed to have been racially profiled after they were caught stealing from a local bakery. A judge awarded Gibson’s Bakery $36 million dollars after the accusations caused the bakery massive loss in business combined with COVID lockdowns.
The 137-year-old bakery filed the defamation suit against Oberlin College in 2017. The incident involved one of the students using a fake ID to try to buy a bottle of wine while shoplifting two more bottles, court papers said. Gibson’s son, Allyn, chased the students Jonathan Aladin, Endia Lawrence, and Cecelia Whettstone, out of the store where a minor fight ensued. When police arrived, the students accused Allyn of racially profiling and assaulting them.
An Oberlin College staff member made and distributed flyers alleging the family had a “LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION.” They urged shoppers to boycott the store. Protestors from the school, both students and teachers, camped outside the Ohio bakery.
“It’s definitely about right and wrong. And to be quite frank, the three students that shoplifted, they admitted their crimes. It was Oberlin College that could never admit that what they did was wrong.” – Brandon McHugh, the Gibson family’s attorney