A Gay Pastor and Whole Foods Are Fighting Over Who Wrote an Offensive Word on a Personalized Cake April 19, 2016

A Gay Pastor and Whole Foods Are Fighting Over Who Wrote an Offensive Word on a Personalized Cake

According to Pastor Jordan D. Brown, a “Love Wins” cake he recently ordered from an Austin (Texas) Whole Foods arrived with a three-letter slur also in icing:


That seems… odd.

Why would someone working at Whole Foods, of all places, write in a slur against the LGBT community?

It doesn’t even make sense. How did Brown not see the word when he picked up the cake? Who buys a personalized cake without making sure everything is correct first? Why are the words in a different color from the icing on the edge of the cake? (Some eagle-eyed viewers have said that it seems like someone went over “Love Wins” in the new color, before writing “fag,” and that you can see the original color underneath the new one in the top row.)

That said, when Brown made a video about the cake, it appears the box was still sealed. He also said he didn’t see the word at first because he rushed out the door, assuming everything was fine, and it wasn’t until he was driving home that he noticed the slur.

Whole Foods issued a statement yesterday saying they would never condone such a thing — and that this wasn’t a prank from someone behind the counter, either:

Our team member wrote “Love Wins” at the top of the cake as requested by the guest, and that’s exactly how the cake was packaged and sold at the store. Our team members do not accept or design bakery orders that include language or images that are offensive. Whole Foods Market has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination. We stand behind our bakery team member, who is part of the LGBTQ community, and the additional team members from the store, who confirmed the cake was decorated with only the message “Love Wins.”

If Whole Foods didn’t do it, then what the hell happened?

It seems like the only alternative is that Pastor Brown did it himself — somehow — but if he did, what would be the point? He runs a church that’s “LGBT-friendly” and he’s gay himself. If this was a weird publicity stunt for a relatively new church, it’s a horrible idea, and the facts don’t support it.

Brown insists this was not his doing even though public sentiment seems to be against him. Yesterday, he filed a lawsuit against the company:

“Pastor Brown never asked for this to happen. He continues to be overwhelmed by the feelings of pain, anguish, and humiliation because of this incident,” said Austin Kaplan, counsel for Plaintiffs. “He frequently shopped at Whole Foods, which makes this all the more shocking and disappointing. What really concerns him is knowing that unless some action is taken, this kind of thing could happen again, and that someone else might have to go through a similarly excruciating experience.”

You can read the lawsuit right here. The relevant portion, after explaining the facts of the case, seems to be this one:

Despite these stated values, Whole Foods apparently has no quality or oversight system in place to ensure that offensive language and imagery do not appear on personalized products made in the store. This cake contained a slur directed at the LGBT community, but the next could contain slurs directed at different races, religions, or national origins.

Even without getting into any legal arguments, it’s hard to see how he wins this. There’s no proof Whole Foods did this — certainly not on purpose. At worst, this was some idiot behind the counter being an asshole, but there’s no proof of that, either. It’s all conjecture.

I will admit, though, that when it comes to a story involving a pastor, a cake, a gay slur, and Texas, the words “Austin” and “Whole Foods” are the last ones I would have expected in that mix.

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