The Austin pastor, who claimed he bought a cake with a homophobic slur written on it, is now dropping his lawsuit against Whole Foods.
It’s been almost a month since an emotional Jordan Brown called a news conference at the Kaplan Law Firm to announce a lawsuit against the food chain. Brown said he ordered a cake with the words, “Love Wins” on it, but when he opened it, Brown claimed a homophobic word was added on top.
For some, like Jordan Richerson who has been following the case, the admission does not come as a surprise.
"I always take stories like that with a bit of a grain of salt, and wonder if there might be some other sort of story or some sort of other motive behind it,” said Richerson.
Security video, released by Whole Foods, apparently forced the back track by Brown. It showed him picking up the cake, and while checking out, neither he nor the clerk see anything offensive through the clear top. It was also noted that the UPC label that sealed the box, at the time, was on top. But during Brown's news conference it had been moved although he claimed the box was never opened. Shortly after the video was released, support for Brown started to erode.
Brent Schneeman, was going by the store at Lamar & 5th, expressed some surprise that the case will not be going to court as a counter claim.
"I think in the face of the video it seemed pretty obvious there was something more to the story. It’s interesting to see both sides just kind of approach it as adults and say, you know what, let’s just move on past it,” said Schneeman.”
Brown, who promotes himself as a preacher, no longer holds church services at a Southeast Austin apartment complex, in a community room. His mailing address turns out to be a postal drop on Riverside Dr. A receptionist at his attorney’s office said Austin Kaplan was not in when FOX 7 came by for a comment.
Several people left comments on Browns Facebook page condemning the preacher for his action. Briana Lillenberg, however, was a little more forgiving.
"Everybody says things they don’t intend, I think it is important that he took time to consider it, and has now come back with a new story, so I think for me it is sufficient that he is apologizing,” said Lillenberg.
Brown's statement did include an apology to Whole Foods, as well as the bakery associated he implicated in his original claim. He also apologized.
" ... to the LGBT community for diverting attention from real issues."
The pastor who claimed he bought a Whole Foods cake that had a homophobic slur written on it has decided to drop his lawsuit against the company. The company has announced it will not move forward with its counter suit.
Pastor Jordan Brown, who is gay, is a pastor of The Church of Open Doors, an LGBT welcoming congregation in Austin.
Brown claimed in April that he had ordered a cake from the North Lamar Whole Foods that was supposed to say "Love Wins" but it instead he said it had a homophobic slur on it when he purchased it.
Whole Foods called Brown's accusations "fraudulent" and released surveillance video from the day that Brown had bought the cake. It said that it planned on taking legal action against Brown.
On May 16, Brown released a statement to the media saying he is dropping the lawsuit. Brown said Whole Foods did "nothing wrong" and apologized for his actions. His full statement is below:
Today I am dismissing my lawsuit against Whole Foods Market. The company did nothing wrong. I was wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story. I want to apologize to Whole Foods and its team members for questioning the company’s commitment to its values, and especially the bakery associate who I understand was put in a terrible position because of my actions. I apologize to the LGBT community for diverting attention from real issues. I also want to apologize to my partner, my family, my church family, and my attorney.
Shortly after Whole Foods released its own statement saying it would not move forward with its intended counter suit.
We're very pleased that the truth has come to light. Given Mr. Brown's apology and public admission that his story was a complete fabrication, we see no reason to move forward with our counter suit to defend the integrity of our brand and team members.