In 2016, a dispute between Gibson’s Bakery and Oberlin College made headlines across the country. The bakery, which had been a fixture in the Ohio town for over 100 years, was accused of racial profiling by a group of Oberlin College students. The college subsequently cut ties with the bakery, boycotting their products and accusing them of discrimination.
Three years later, the situation has finally come to a resolution. Gibson’s Bakery has been awarded $36 million in damages from Oberlin College, after a jury found the college liable for libel, interference with business relationships, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The incident that sparked the controversy occurred in November 2016, when a group of Oberlin College students attempted to shoplift from Gibson’s Bakery. The bakery’s owner, Allyn D. Gibson, and his son, who was working at the store at the time, confronted the students and called the police. The students were eventually arrested and charged with shoplifting.
However, instead of accepting responsibility for their actions, the students and their allies at Oberlin College accused Gibson’s Bakery of racial profiling and discrimination. The college then took steps to boycott the bakery, including sending out a mass email to students urging them to avoid the store.
Gibson’s Bakery, which has been owned and operated by the Gibson family for four generations, denied the accusations of discrimination and filed a lawsuit against Oberlin College. In 2019, the case went to trial, and a jury found in favor of the bakery.
The $36 million awarded to Gibson’s Bakery is intended to compensate the business for the harm it suffered as a result of Oberlin College’s actions. The bakery’s attorney stated that the damages awarded were “a clear message that Oberlin College cannot treat local businesses and their owners this way.”
This case serves as a reminder of the power of false accusations and the harm they can cause to individuals and businesses. It is crucial for individuals and institutions to carefully consider the consequences of their actions before making such accusations, and to ensure that they are acting on facts rather than emotions or biases.