AUSTIN, Texas — A homosexual “pastor” in Texas who filed a lawsuit against the health-oriented grocery chain Whole Foods after claiming that a slur had been written on a cake he ordered has admitted to lying about the matter, and has subsequently dropped his pursuit of emotional damages.
“Today I am dismissing my lawsuit against Whole Foods Market. The company did nothing wrong,” Jordan Brown of the Church of Open Doors said in a statement on Monday. “I was wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story.”
As previously reported, Brown had filed a legal challenge against Whole Foods last month, claiming that he ordered a cake last week for one of his congregational members that was to bear the words “Love Wins,” but later noticed that it read “Love Wins “F*g.”
He said that he did not notice the slur until later as he was driving home. Brown states that he didn’t want to make a scene at the store, so instead of returning with the cake, he called Whole Foods’ corporate office as well as the store manager to complain.
Brown Tweeted an image of the cake bearing the slur that same day, recorded a video to show others the “sealed” box, and also appeared at a press conference where he tearfully declared the alleged incident an act of hate.
“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,” his attorney, Austin Kaplan, said in a statement.
Brown sued Whole Foods for damages involving emotional distress, but the company soon sued back after investigating the matter and determining that that Brown’s story didn’t add up.
“After a deeper investigation of Mr. Brown’s claim, we believe his accusations are fraudulent and we intend to take legal action against both Mr. Brown and his attorney,” it said. “The 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.”
The company outlined that the person who wrote on the cake even identifies as homosexual, and that other workers testified that the employee did not write a slur on the cake.
“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,’” Whole Foods stated.
Company officials additionally reviewed the video surveillance and noted that the footage showed a UPC sticker on top of the cake box, while the video Brown released showed the sticker on the side.
“After reviewing their security footage of Mr. Brown, it’s clear that the UPC label was in fact on top of the cake box, not on the side of the package,” Whole Foods outlined. “This is evident as the cashier scans the UPC code on top of the box, which you can view [in the surveillance footage]. … Mr. Brown admits that he was in possession and control of the cake until he posted his video, which showed the UPC label on the bottom and side of the box.”
Some who viewed Brown’s Tweeted photo also noted that the frosting used to write “Love Wins” was much thicker than the slur on the cake, and concluded that they could not have been written at the same time.
On Monday, Brown came clean about the matter and apologized for lying about the matter.
“I want to apologize to Whole Foods and its team members for questioning the company’s commitment to its values, and especially the bakery associate who I understand was put in a terrible position because of my actions,” he said. “I want to apologize to the LGBT community for diverting attention from real issues. I also want to apologize to my partner, my family, my church family and my attorney.”
Whole Foods says that it will now drop its countersuit.
“We’re very pleased that the truth has come to light,” the company said in a statement. “Given Mr. Brown’s apology and public admission that his story was a complete fabrication, we see no reason to move forward with our counter suit to defend the integrity of our brand and team members.”