Oberlin College to Pay $36M to Bakery Over Racism Claims

    Photo: AP [via Business Insider]

    The Facts

    • Oberlin College, a liberal arts institution located southwest of Cleveland, Ohio, has agreed to pay $36.59M to local bakery Gibson's over claims of false accusations of racism against the shop.

    • The libel case began in 2016 when a white bakery employee caught a black student shoplifting and chased him into the street. Hundreds of Oberlin's students and several administrators, including the dean, later gathered in protest outside the bakery, alleging racism.

    The Spin

    Right narrative

    An independent family business was almost destroyed by false accusations of racism made by this woke institution, and, even after the Gibson family members were vindicated at trial, Oberlin continued to discriminate against them. This is a victory for independent businesses against powerful bullies and serves as an example to other liberal academia who play the name-and-shame game.

    Left narrative

    This result isn't a vindication - it has only shown that colleges should fear taking up their students' causes, and that the First Amendment isn't as protective of protest as many think. The courts have held Oberlin accountable for "publishing" claims made in student flyers, thereby setting a legal precedent that could see students' free speech put in jeopardy as schools across America reckon with their apparent liability.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 10% chance that the ACLU will argue that hate speech shouldn't be protected by the First Amendment before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our daily newsletter