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Gibson’s Bakery, a family-owned bakery that has operated in Oberlin, Ohio, since 1885, received a major win in its ongoing feud with Oberlin College, which encouraged and supported students and faculty falsely accusing the bakery of racism in 2016.
A jury had awarded the bakery $36 million in damages after Oberlin’s sustained campaign against the shop, and the college fought the verdict with every tool at its disposal. The state Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear Oberlin’s appeal, meaning the school will finally have to pay the bakery it has nearly put out of business.
“Truth Still Matters, David can still overcome Goliath. We and the Gibson family are gratified that all judges on the court of appeals and the majority of the Ohio Supreme Court recognized the rights of individuals rather than the bullying tactics of the big institutions,” the Gibson family’s attorneys told The Daily Wire in a statement.
In April, an appeals court upheld the multi-million dollar verdict, The Daily Wire reported, but the college appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. But as Legal Insurrection reported on Tuesday, the state Supreme Court declined to hear Oberlin’s appeal in a 4-3 decision.
The bakery was waiting on pins and needles for the court’s decision, fearing that it would have to close its doors after Oberlin’s continuing actions against Gibson’s. While Oberlin was appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court, the court issued an unsigned decision that kept Oberlin from having to make payments to Gibson.
In a statement to The Daily Wire, an Oberlin College spokesperson said the school was “disappointed” in the court’s decision.
“The issues raised by this case have been challenging, not only for the parties involved, but for the entire Oberlin community,” the spokesperson said. “We remain committed to strengthening the partnership between the College, the City of Oberlin and its residents, and the downtown business community. We will continue in that important work while remaining focused on our core educational mission.”
The Gibson family said the bakery was struggling to survive while waiting for the damages from Oberlin because the school continued to discriminate against the bakery.
“The continuing conduct of which the Gibsons have become aware and which has brought the Gibsons to their knees include the following: Oberlin College’s authorized new student tour guides are still being heard to say don’t shop at Gibsons Bakery when the tours pass in front of the store; neither the College, its administrators, nor its professors have resumed any ordering of the Gibson’s products for College events; and notices still denigrating the Gibsons are posted in College buildings for students and their families to see,” the Gibson’s wrote in their motion to have the court force Oberlin pay the damages awarded to the bakery.
Sadly, the two family members who served as the lead plaintiffs – David Gibson and his father Allyn – passed away before the decision was upheld, though they did live to see the original verdict. David had previously revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer and said that Oberlin was purposefully dragging out the case.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, several non-white Oberlin students attempted to steal alcohol from Gibson’s, a local bakery with a long history of serving the Oberlin community. A Gibson family member working at the bakery that day chased the students out of the store, where they attacked him. He called the police and the students were arrested, pleaded guilty, and admitted race had nothing to do with the incident.
But other students and faculty accused the bakery of racism and staged protests outside, with Oberlin officials fully endorsing and supporting the protestors’ false narrative. Further, while Oberlin claimed in court the protests were peaceful, some demonstrators entered the bakery and harassed customers, taking pictures of them and making disparaging comments. They also blocked customers from moving down the aisles and slashed the tires of a store employee.
Behind the scenes, Oberlin administrators trashed the bakery and anyone who defended it, calling defenders “idiots” and saying, “F*** them.”
The Gibsons home was broken into months after the protests (though it is unclear whether it was related). Business dropped and employees were laid-off. The family was threatened.
Jurors sided with the bakery and awarded $44 million in total damages, an amount that was later reduced to $25 million due to state limits.
“The jury recognized Oberlin College’s bullying tactics. The students admitted their misconduct, but Oberlin College could never admit that they were wrong. They presumed that they could bring the Gibsons to their knees. The power of truth has enabled the Gibson family to survive Oberlin’s onslaught,” the Gibson’s attorneys told The Daily Wire.
This article has been updated to include a comment from Oberlin College.