An openly gay Texas pastor is suing Whole Foods Inc. over the claim that he ordered a cake with the words "Love Wins" on it, but that the final product included an anti-gay slur that absolutely shocked him.
Pastor Jordan Brown of Church of Open Doors in Austin, Texas, is claiming that the cake ended up reading, "Love Wins Fag," and he's now taking action, turning to the Kaplan Law Firm in Austin to bring his grievance to the courts.
Watch Brown discuss the incident below:
According to a press release distributed by the law firm on Monday, Brown claims to have reported the incident to Whole Foods, but was purportedly told that the employee had done nothing wrong and that no further action would be taken.
"Pastor Brown never asked for this to happen," attorney Austin Kaplan said in a statement. "He continues to be overwhelmed by the feelings of pain, anguish, and humiliation because of this incident."
The preacher's fear, Kaplan said, is that someone else will have to face a similar "excruciating experience" if Whole Foods isn't held accountable for the alleged incident.
"This is discrimination," Brown said in a video recorded on April 14, the day he claims to have purchased the cake from Whole Foods.
The pastor showed a cake in the video recording that appeared to be in a sealed Whole Foods box, and also presented a receipt in an effort to seemingly try and dismiss any claims that he might have tampered with the messaging.
Whole Foods released a statement to KXAN-TV, though, stating that the store employee had written "Love Wins" as requested by Brown and that this is "exactly how the cake was packaged and sold at the store." The company also said that the bakery staff member in question is a member of the LBGTQ community.
"Our team members do not accept or design bakery orders that include language or images that are offensive. Whole Foods Market has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination," the company said. "We stand behind our bakery team member, who is part of the LGBTQ community, and the additional team members from the store, who confirmed the cake was decorated with only the message 'Love Wins.'"
Brown is described in the press release as "an openly gay African-American man" who funded Church of Open Doors as a non-denomination ministry to be "a safe place welcoming all."
UPDATED 8:15 p.m. ET:
Whole Foods, Inc., issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying Brown's accusations are believed to be "fraudulent."
The company said they plan to take legal action against Brown.
See the statement from Whole Foods:
• 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.
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