Oberlin College to pay bakery $11M after furthering racism accusations: jury

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OBERLIN, Oh. (FOX) — Oberlin College in Ohio will have to pay a nearby bakery more than $11 million in damages because it libeled the store, tagging it as racist, and interfered with its business, a jury said on Friday.

Gibson’s Bakery came under fire after Allyn Gibson, the owners’ son, got into a physical altercation with a black student who reportedly tried shoplifting and using a fake ID at the store, The Chronicle-Telegram said. Two other black students got involved, appearing to prompt accusations of racial profiling.

The three students eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and read statements defending Allyn Gibson’s right to detain them. They also read statements claiming that his actions weren’t racially motivated, but within days of the incident, students were turning out for protests fueled by accusations of racist intent.

The jury found the school and Oberlin’s vice president and dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, guilty of libel after Raimondo allegedly helped pass out flyers claiming that the bakery was “racist” and had a history of “racial profiling and discrimination.”

The jury also found that the college (not Raimondo) was guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress for the owner, David Gibson, as well as libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress on his son.

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