There is a story out of Austin, Texas, where an openly gay pastor Jordan Brown is suing Whole Food because he ordered a cake to read "Love Wins" on the icing, but when he got it, the lettering had a slur that had him "horrified to tears," reading instead, "Love Wins Fag." He is suing the grocery chain.
It turns out that Whole Foods is counter-suing him for tampering with the product.
The first issue is that store surveillance shows Pastor Brown paying for the cake at the checkout cashier, and there is clearly a white scan label on the front of the box. In the video that the pastor made in which he showed the cake in a supposedly sealed box, as he says on the recording, there is no white label on the front of the box -- instead, it's on the bottom, over an edge to seal it.
Secondly, the store's cake decorator is a member of the LGBT community, so it would seem unlikely that such a person would slur another member for their sexual preference.
But I think there's a third problem here, which the article I read doesn't mention.
The box in question has a big plastic window on the front that lets a customer clearly see the cake that they have purchased. If someone bought this cake, it seems to me incomprehensible that you wouldn't see what was written on it -- indeed, check first to make sure it was all done properly -- and not see what was there. How on earth could a person possibly miss this??
Is it possible that Pastor Brown didn't look at this cake until he got home? Sure, it's possible. Is it likely? Not only is it not likely, it seems utterly improbable and preposterous.
Could the pastor have seen it and decided to buy the cake anyway as "evidence" and not say anything until he got home, so that he could make a case out of it and sue? Again, certainly, it's possible. It is also again, implausible. Given that he said he was horrified to tears, not only does he appear nonchalant and not remotely horrified in the video (which you can see in the linked article above), but it seems a far more believable reaction -- most especially for someone horrified to tears by it -- would have been to instantly start screaming bloody murder for the manager, or at the very least buy the cake first so that it was your possession and couldn't be taken and destroyed by the story, and then immediately start screaming for the manager and take a photograph while you were still in the store as evidence that it couldn't have been tampered with.
I assume if this case ever gets to a deposition (I doubt it will get to court), this question will come up. How could it not? I'm just a bit surprised that it wasn't addressed in the article, since it's what struck me first -- and blatantly.
I don't know what happened. But if I had to guess, it wouldn't be that things happened as Pastor Brown said they did. Which would be deeply unfortunate, because such actions only hurt real slurs and harmful actions when they actually do occur.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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