Jordan Brown, the pastor of an LGBT-friendly church, filed the lawsuit against the company claiming a baker wrote “Love Wins F–” on a personalized cake. Wholes Foods denied the allegations.
A gay pastor in Texas is filing a lawsuit against Whole Foods claiming that that a homophobic slur was iced onto a cake he had ordered from one of its stores.
Pastor Jordan Brown, founder of Church of Open Doors, was picking up a cake for one of his congregation members at the Whole Foods flagship store on Lamar Boulevard in downtown Austin on 14 April.
The 30-year-old had requested to have ‘Love Wins’ written on the cake, and a staff member at the store was responsible for inscribing the message using blue-colored icing. Brown said that the box was sealed with a sticker before the staff passed it over to him.
It wasn’t until Brown was in his vehicle that he says he saw the word ‘fag’ written right in the center of the cake.
Following his shocking discovery, Brown called Whole Foods, and the staff who picked up apologised and said that the issue would be taken care of internally.
However two hours later, Brown got another call from Whole Foods and the representative told him that the icing was not done by an employee at the store, and added that there was nothing that could be done.
Brown’s attorney, Austin Kaplan, told KEYE that they decided to file a lawsuit after contacting the Whole Foods corporate office and getting no substantive response for more than three days.
‘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,’ said Kaplan.
‘He frequently shopped at Whole Foods, which makes this all the more shocking and disappointing. What really concerns him is knowing that unless some action is taken, this kind of thing could happen again, and that someone else might have to go through a similarly excruciating experience.’
At an afternoon press conference held yesterday, Brown, who is black, said, ‘Saying fag is the same as calling me a n**ger,’ reports KXAN.
Brown has also recorded a video, which was posted on Kaplan’s YouTube channel yesterday, showing the cake with the slur written on it, as well as the unbroken seal that’s on the box. He insists that the cake was not tampered with.
Denying Brown’s allegations, Whole Foods released the following statement:
‘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.
‘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.’
Whole Foods has also spoken to BuzzFeed News, asserting that the allegations are not true.
The company says it will support its employees who are embroiled in this incident, and has further revealed that the staff who was in charge of Brown’s cake decorations is ‘part of the LGBTQ community’:
‘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.”’