Whole Foods: Your friendly neighborhood grocer, if your neighborhood refers to any person of color as “those people”. As elitist as the community surrounding Whole Foods markets around the country may be, the actual company of Whole Foods prides themselves on being wildly inclusive. So much so that they include pre-peeled oranges and asparagus water on the list of things worth paying twelve dollars for.
So why is Whole Foods, a store that is so inclusive they’ve actually framed and displayed art from it’s less than talented customers in their stores, now at the center of a discrimination lawsuit?
It started when a Christian Pastor from Austin, Texas tweeted out this photograph:
Now, obviously when you hear the phrase “Christian Pastor from Austin, Texas who shops at Whole Foods” you’d probably assume that this was the exact cake he ordered and he made a delightful purchase to surprise his bible study class with. But Pastor Jordan Brown is an openly gay pastor of a non-denominational Christian church that opens its doors to all people—The church is literally called Open Doors Church. So his anger was clearly genuine… but people were quick to disagree with him namely Whole Foods.
Tuesday, Whole Foods released a statement claiming Brown’s accusation was “fraudulent and we intend to take legal action against both Mr. Brown and his attorney… We appreciate the team members and shoppers who recognize that this claim is completely false and directly contradicts Whole Foods Market’s inclusive culture, which celebrates diversity” The grocery chain is counter suing, and seeking at least $100,000 in damages.
You may be wondering on what grounds does Whole Foods believe that this was a hoax? Well for starters in the statement made by Whole Foods they confirmed that the baker who baked the very cake with the derogatory slur, was in fact a member of the LGBTA community. Not only that but the store has a strict policy that bans baking anything that is instructed to be offensive. “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.”
Secondly, the cake is clearly in a box that is at least twenty five percent transparent. Worse though, it is 100 percent transparent over 100 percent of the writing on the cake. So how did this gay baker supposedly scribble on a gay slur, on an already gay cake, then hand that cake to a gay pastor, in a box with a window directly to his hypocritical crime?
Most shocking is the wording. If a baker was going to even attempt to do something this hurtful, they’d probably go out with a bang. That word is so crudely scribbled beneath the delicately written phrase “love wins”. No baker with a decent job at Whole Foods is going to stand around a freshly baked cake and say, “You know what… I know I’m gay… And I know I’ll lose my job, and the hasty manner in which I’ll have to quickly make this horrible decision will poorly reflect my talent as a cake decorator. But, screw it! Love Wins Fag!” It just seems off.
And with that common knowledge, Cakegate began. Whole Food’s Facebook page was flooded with comments from conspirators swearing that this was a hoax on the part of Pastor Brown. The noted the different shades of blue in the icing, the off center placement of the wording, the clear packaging, and of course that god awful G. Seriously, it looks like a toddler’s first attempt at writing a 6.
Cakegate blew out of the water when video footage was released of Pastor Brown purchasing the cake, carrying it all the way to the register, and purchasing the cake with no qualms whatsoever. (Sidenote: a small tip to anyone looking to defame a decent grocery chain. When you’re going in to purchase your “evidence” perhaps don’t wear the brightest orange shirt that money can buy).