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Gibson’s Bakery Awarded $44M From Oberlin College For Libel

Gibson’s Bakery Awarded $44M  From Oberlin College For Libel

A jury has awarded $33.2 million in punitive damages to Gibson’s Bakery, whose owners claimed Ohio’s Oberlin College and an administrator hurt their business and libeled them during a dispute over a shoplifting episode that triggered protests and allegations of racism.

The Chronicle-Telegram reported the same jury awarded Gibson’s business and family members more than $11 million in actual or compensatory damages, bringing the total award to more than $44 million.

The incident happened when after Allyson Gibson, who is white, confronted a black student who’d shoplifted a bottle of wine. Two other black students joined in and assaulted Gibson. They then went to the campus and claimed they were profiled due to their being African Americans, did not say that they were caught shoplifting.

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In what ensued later, the college stated protests against the bakery, the Dean sent out a letter to the students telling them not to visit, that the establishment was racist.

The students pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and read statements in court saying Gibson’s actions weren’t racially motivated.

We called Donica Thomas Varner, the legal representative for the school, but no reply was given back.

Last week she said she was disappointed with the verdict and denied the college had defamed the bakery or its owners.

“Neither Oberlin College nor Dean Meredith Raimondo defamed a local business or its owners, and they never endorsed statements made by others,” Varner reportedly said.

“Rather, the college and Dr. Raimondo worked to ensure that students’ freedom of speech was protected and that the student demonstrations were safe and lawful, and they attempted to help the plaintiffs repair any harm caused by the student protests.”

An attorney said the Gibsons just wanted “the truth to come out.”

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