AUSTIN, Texas — The health-oriented grocery chain Whole Foods has filed a countersuit for defamation against a homosexual “pastor” who claims that a cake he ordered at his Texas store had a slur written on it.
Jordan Brown of the Church of Open Doors had filed a legal challenge against Whole Foods on Monday, 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.
However, after local representatives conducted an investigation, they concluded that no wrongdoing had been committed.
“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 said in a statement. “Our team members do not accept or design bakery orders that include language or images that are offensive.”
It said 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.
Brown had 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 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 has sued Whole Foods for damages involving emotional distress.
But Whole Foods says that it reviewed the video surveillance and has trouble believing Brown as the footage shows a UPC sticker on top of the cake box, while the video Brown released shows the sticker on the side.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
“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].”
The company has publicly released the footage of Brown paying for the cake.
Some who have viewed Brown’s Tweeted photo also note that the frosting used to write “Love Wins” is much thicker than the slur on the cake, and so they could not have been written at the same time.
“That handwriting is different and the thickness of the frosting is inconsistent,” follower Elinor Wolfa wrote. “This is the work of an amateur.”
Brown contends that he didn’t tamper with the sticker.
“At this time we are aware of the Whole Foods’ press release, the alleged security video, and the countersuit by Whole Foods against Pastor Brown, and we are currently investigating these allegations,” Kaplan said on Tuesday.