Posted on April 5, 2022

Oberlin Must Pay Record $31M Award to Bakery It Defamed as Racist, Says Appeals Court

Greg Wilson, Washington Examiner, April 1, 2022

A record $31 million award to a mom and pop bakery that accused a liberal Ohio college of ruining its business with false accusations of racism has been upheld by a state appeals court.

Gibson’s Bakery, a 135-year-old family business near the campus of Oberlin College, was initially awarded more than $40 million in punitive and compensatory damages in the aftermath of a 2016 incident in which the owner’s son confronted three black Oberlin students who were stealing wine from the store. Although the suspects were arrested and later admitted they were shoplifting, the episode touched off school-sanctioned protests and accusations of racism that crippled the store’s business.


Despite the students’ guilt, Oberlin College and key officials, including its vice president and dean of students, accused the bakery of racial profiling, claiming that owner David Gibson and other employees assaulted the students and had a history of racism. At trial, the jury heard evidence that college officials distributed flyers containing the false accusations and encouraged students to boycott and protest the store.