- April 19, 2016

Whole Foods Slams ‘Fraudulent’ Hate Cake Allegations

The plot thickens in the case of the Whole Foods cake incident, as the store has pulled surveillance footage that supports their claim that they did nothing wrong. Yesterday, Pastor Jordan Brown’s attorney, Austin Kaplan, held a press conference regarding Whole Foods allegedly writing a homophobic slur on Brown’s cake. Brown originally posted a video on YouTube showing the slur, along with a sealed cake box.

Whole Foods has denied the claim since nearly the beginning of the incident (the cake was purchased last Friday afternoon), and today’s footage seems to support their side of the story. The store claims that the price tag sticker was on top of the box, not on the bottom as Brown’s video shows. A quick examination of the surveillance video supports their claim. Brown is seen checking out in the bottom right of the footage, with the cashier quickly scanning the top of the box with his gun.

Whole Foods released a bullet-pointed statement regarding what they know about the incident:

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. Here’s what we know:

  • Our bakery team member wrote “Love Wins” at the top of the cake, which was visible to Mr. Brown through the clear portion of the packaging. That’s exactly how the cake was packaged and sold at the store. Whole Foods Market has a strict policy that prohibits team members from accepting or designing bakery orders that include language or images that are offensive.
  • Mr. Brown admits that he was in sole 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 our 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.  This is evident as the cashier scans the UPC code on top of the box, which you can view here.
  • We stand behind our bakery team member, who is part of the LGBTQ community, and 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.

Yours Truly, Whole Foods Market

To make matters worse for Pastor Brown, his attorney Austin Kaplan emailed this somewhat ominous-sounding statement to reporters on Tuesday afternoon…

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.

So what do you think? Is Whole Foods in the wrong, or was this just an unfortunate ploy for attention? We’ll keep you updated.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyoluahNZZs]


Featured photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons licensed