Oberlin College pays $36 million to bakery it called 'racist' in 2016

Oberlin awarded the bakery $36.6 million in legal fees, damages and interest after previously attempting to appeal the lawsuit.

Published: December 18, 2022 8:41am

Updated: December 18, 2022 5:01pm

Oberlin College paid more than $36 million to Gibson's Bakery and Food Mart, which the Ohio-based school called "racist" in 2016, after a years-long defamation lawsuit.

Oberlin paid the bakery $36.6 million in legal fees, damages and interest after previously attempting to appeal the lawsuit, Fox News reported Saturday.

The event sparking the legal battle occurred in 2016 when Allyn Gibson, the son of the bakery's owners, chased and tackled a black student suspected of stealing wine. Two other black Oberlin students were also involved in the physical incident. 

Students began protesting outside of the bakery and then-Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo joined the demonstrations and passed out flyers alleging that the store was a "RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION." The college stopped purchasing goods from the bakery and Oberlin dedicated resources to supporting protesters by printing flyers and buying food.

Gibson's Bakery and Food Mart sued Oberlin College in 2017, alleging that the school harmed their business and libeled them.

A jury initially awarded the bakery $44 million in damages from Oberlin, but the judge lowered the payment to $25 million. An additional $6.5 million in legal expenses were awarded in 2019.

Brandon McHugh, an attorney for the bakery's owners, said Saturday: "We can confirm that all funds have been disbursed and that the family is continuing with the process of rebuilding Gibson's Bakery for the next generations." 

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