The owner of a family-run Ohio bakery awarded $36 million in damages after Oberlin College falsely accused the shop of racism on Sunday called the payout “bittersweet.”
Lorna Gibson, of Gibson’s Bakery, appeared on “Fox & Friends Weekend” after the liberal arts school finally forked over the settlement this month for the November 2016 incident.
“It is definitely bittersweet,” she said on the Fox News show.
“It took a tremendous toll. A lot of stress, a lot of financial toll. It definitely hit us hard.”
Both Gibson’s father and husband died as the lengthy legal battle over the incident played out.
The bakery eventually won its defamation suit against Oberlin, which had sided with three black students who claimed the store racially profiled them when they were caught shoplifting wine.
Gibson’s son, Allyn, had chased the students out of the bakery and a scuffle ensued. When police arrived, the trio claimed Allyn racially profiled and assaulted them.
Soon after, protesters gathered outside the bakery and demanded a boycott of its products.
An Oberlin College staffer claimed the family had a “long account of racial profiling and discrimination” and disturbed fliers calling for the boycott.
In a piece for The Post in September, Gibson wrote: “A week after the incident, the school canceled all of our standing orders…The school put out a statement that implied that this wasn’t an isolated incident.
“Our business from the students themselves and administrators… dried up completely. And the students kept showing up to protest.”
Even though the shoplifting students eventually pleaded guilty to attempted theft, the family said it lost a lot of business and suffered reputational damage. It plans to use the settlement money to rebuild the store.
Gibson’s attorney Lee Plakas said on Fox News: “This should’ve really been a teaching moment for the college… and the students learned, they admitted their guilt, they apologized and went forward.
“The college still doesn’t get it,” Plakas added. “The teachers refused to be taught or accept the lesson.”
Gibson said she hopes the case teaches people not to jump to conclusions.
“I just hope that if incidents occur that people step back and try to find out what really happened and not jump to conclusions or listen to just a few to escalate something,” she said.