Tag Archives: bakeries

Comment Of The Day: “When Businesses Have No Principles, No Courage, And The Community Likes It That Way”

Toxic woke is a specialty…

The bizarre episode in Portland, Oregon, in which two bakery employees were fired for following store policy because their doing so upset a black activist, and the establishment is so self-righteously “woke” that her demands were deemed sufficient to make injustice mandatory, has received almost no national publicity. I presume this is because it illustrates the worst of progressive logic, group preference, and hubris to a nauseating extent. Almost as awful as the Back to Eden bakery’s mistreatment of its employees are the addled statements of its owners, which betray an increasingly common (I wish I could write “rare”) certitude of a standard-issue social justice warrior’s virtue, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Here is johnburger2013’s fascinating analysis of this mess in his Comment of the Day on the post,When Businesses Have No Principles, No Courage, And The Community Likes It That Way….

This story is fascinating on so many levels, from all angles: legal, business practices, ethics, public relations damage control, and a whole host of other areas. Thankfully, geometry and nationalized medical care were spared.

From the outset, it seems kind of dumb to deny a patron pastry at 9:06 p.m. because of a rigid application of store hours. This is a bakery and the business of a bakery is sell baked goods. Any sale of a baked good is a good sale, no?

Yet, if the bakery declares the store hours, the employees should not necessarily be punished for enforcing that policy. Otherwise, you would have people coming and going at all hours and the employees would have to stay beyond their shifts, which may result in hardships on them and others the employees depend on. For instance, if a child is at daycare, there may be an additional fee payable to the daycare because the employee arrived late to pick up the child. Termination of the employees for enforcing the store’s hours seems cruel, harsh, and unfair to the employees.

How this situation spiraled out of control is truly amazing. At first, I thought the fired employees posted about it; then, I learned the Lillian, the Perpetually Aggrieved, posted videos she took from outside the bakery on her Facebook feed, which then went viral. Many Facebookers banded together in a quasi-online lynch mob and filled the bakery’s Facebook page with love letters and messages.

The owners, dreaming of gluten free cookies, awoke to a public relations nightmare. One of the owners contacted Lillian via Facebook Messenger to try to apologize and resolve the problem (without knowing the real facts); though well-intentioned, he stepped into a virtual hornets’ nest. He then tried to make further amends by writing a preliminary statement, which failed miserably. His response: a 3400 word statement, which he subsequently deleted. Here is a link I found on a site called “The Way Back Machine”* that includes the bakery’s initial statement and the update:

https://web.archive.org/web/20180529123148/https://m.facebook.com/backtoedenbakery/posts/10156247917969043

The two statements, taken together are a brilliant lesson in multiculturalism, diversity, virtue signaling, damage control failures, capitulation to The Mob, sacrificing someone for the Greater Good, and the ranking order of privilege and standing in the Grievance Industry.

The initial statement had this little gem:

“Back to Eden Bakery is 100% committed to being a welcoming and supportive environment for all customers who share our values of inclusivity (sic?) and dismantling the white supremacist hetero-patriarchy.” Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Facebook, Journalism & Media, Race

When Businesses Have No Principles, No Courage, And The Community Likes It That Way….

This, by rights, should be a Kaboom!, but after the Starbucks fiasco, my head is no longer surprised enough by outrageous  race-bullying and craven corporations to explode. It is a terrible story, however. I don’t advocate boycotts, but this bakery deserves to be picketed.

On the other hand, it’s Portland, Jake, so maybe I should forget it. But still …hold on to your skull…

Two employees of a bakery denied a black woman service because the business had closed at 9 pm, as was its policy. The woman, however, cried racism, and the store released multiple apologies and public statements. In one, the bakery’s co-owner wrote, “We are doing business in a gentrified neighborhood in a racist city within a racist state of a racist country.”

I’m not even going to comment on that, except to recommend that the guy run onto the field of an NFL game and kneel.

Oh, I almost forgot the beauty part: the bakery fired the two employees. For following the store’s policies. For closing the store on time. For not giving special dispensation to a woman demanding entry because she was black.

According to its own surveillance video, a black woman named “Lillian”, who is  known  as a “professional equity activist”—that is, a social justice predator who was probably lying in wait until the store closed to provoke this controversy— entered at 9:06 p.m….after the bakery’s closing time, after the Catch 22-doomed employees turned off the “OPEN” sign. Two white women tried to enter the bakery two minutes before “Lillian, “and were properly informed that the business was closed for the night. Ah, but they had no race card to play. “Lillian” left the store briefly and began recording video. Of course she did.

The bakery’s statement—hold on to that cranium, now!— says that even though  the employees were following the business’s protocol of closing at 9 p.m. and did nothing to suggest racism, they were fired because “sometimes impact outweighs intent.”

In other words, they should recognize that society has handed blacks and the race-grievance mob the weapons to destroy them, and behave accordingly.  Is there any other interpretation? The bakery also said  that the way the employees went about denying the woman service, “lacked sensitivity and understanding of the racial implications at work” and that “this is more about how a black woman was made to feel.” Not a white woman, now or just a woman. How they choose to feel would be their own problem. A black woman, however, felt that the rules should be bent for her, and then felt that two employees trying to do their jobs had to be sacrificed.

Nice. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Race, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society, Workplace

Boy, Am I Glad Oberlin Rejected My Application, Or “Bakers’ Lives Matter”

I really wanted to go to Oberlin. Loved the campus, loved the atmosphere and the curriculum. It turned me down flat—the interviewer was actually hostile— so I ended up having to settle for my second choice.

Boy, am I glad I don’t have to try to defend Oberlin today.

Gibson’s Bakery, a small family-owned bakery which  a contract with Oberlin, is suing the Ohio college, alleging that school officials facilitated a boycott after three black Oberlin students were arrested at the bakery for shop-lifting some wine. The complaint is here.

On November 9, 2016—probably not coincidentally the day after Donald Trump was elected, throwing ultra-liberal schools like Oberlin into a ludicrously extended period of irrational fear and loathing—Jonathan Aladin, Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone were caught stealing bottles of wine. As they have been duly trained by our culture, the students played the race card, initially claiming the shop had racially profiled them, and that their only misdeed was presenting  fake IDs. When that wasn’t working, the three admitted their guilt and also signed statements that the store was innocent of any race-related bias. It also appears that the students punched and kicked the shopkeeper. What a fine job our institutions of higher learning are doing civilizing the rising generation! (Here is the police incident report.) 

The day after the arrests, hundreds of students protested outside the bakery, and Oberlin’s student senate published a resolution saying Gibson’s had “a history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment.” The Oberlin police conducted an investigation into the arrests and found “a complete lack of evidence of racism.” Over a five-year period, the bakery had pursued charges against 40 shoplifters, and only six were African-American.

Never mind.  The owner met with then-Oberlin President Marvin Krislov and Tita Reed, assistant to the president, and they  pressured him to drop criminal charges against the three students and any future student-thieves who were first time offenders. When he did not agree, the complaint alleges, the school made good on its threat and dropped its decade’s long contract with the bakery. Then, the complaints says,  Meredith Raimondo, vice president and dean of students, joined members of the school faculty in campus demonstrations against the bakery demonstrations, distributing a flyer that accused Gibson’s Bakery of being a “RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION.”  A boycott of the business was organized, and according to the complaint, facilitated by the school. College tour guides reportedly inform prospective students that Gibson’s is racist. How is it racist? Well, it doesn’t let black students shoplift, and  black students told reporters that when they enter the store, they feel as though they’re being watched. Continue reading

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Surely There Is A Gay John Adams In Oregon Who Will Fight The State’s Outrageous Persecution Of The Kleins…Isn’t There?

Come on, John, I know you're out there....

Come on, John, I know you’re out there….

Even if one believes that the refusal of  Sweet Cakes  to make a wedding cake for a gay couple was a dubious exercise of religion as well as a mean and petty one, the astounding punishment levied on the now defunct bakery’s owners must be condemned as an abuse of power.

Having already lost their bakery business due to mob action online by Gay Marriage Advocate Furies, Aaron and Melissa Klein were walloped by former Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian with a $135,000 judgment  for “emotional damages” to the couple. He also issued a gag order on the ex-bakers that forbids the Kleins from explaining to potential customers of Sweet Cakes their anti- same-sex wedding policies.

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UPDATE (7/9): This is, I have learned, an overly simplistic description. Ken at Popehat explains what’s really going on as far as the “gagging” goes.

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Of course—I guess I can’t really say “of course” if such a travesty can occur—no state can order anyone not to talk about anything in such a situation. The unconstitutional gag order is essentially moot, since to violate it the Kleins would have to still own a bakery and they do not, but it still acts to intimidate others and chill freedom of speech. It must be challenged and overturned. The fine is also unconscionable, and effectively makes villains out of the originally aggrieved couple if they don’t immediately agree to waive it. There is a duty in law to mitigate damages: the couple could and did minimize the harm of their cake request’s rejection by obtaining a wedding cake elsewhere. The Kleins didn’t stop them from getting married, and any harm that came to them from the publicity of their humiliation by the bakery was exacerbated by the couple’s own actions, not the Kleins’. $135,000? That’s beyond punitive. That’s vengeance. Continue reading

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Ethics Dunce: GoFundMe

“DESTROY THE EVIL CAKE DISCRIMINATORS!!!!”

If GoFundMe isn’t going to have the integrity to avoid taking sides in complex political and cultural disputes, it is functionally useless.

Perhaps it should change its title to “GoFundMyPoliticallyCorrectCause.”

Pusillanimous GoFundMe caved in to pressure from vindictive gay marriage activists and pulled the crowdfunding campaign on the site that had raised more than $109,000 for the Christian-owned bakery,  Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

The cake shop in Gresham, Oregon, became ground zero for the same-sex marriage debate  in January 2013, when it turned away customers who wanted cakes for a same-sex wedding. The spurned couple filed a complaint to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, claiming their civil rights under the Oregon Equality Act had been infringed. In defense, the owners of the business stated that they  refused to cater  the wedding because of their religious beliefs, and thus their decision was protected by the U.S. Constitution. They subsequently closed the shop, and carried out their business from home. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries proposed a damages award Friday of $135,000 against Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners, for being in violation of the state’s anti-discrimination law. The award, which is not final, would provide $60,000 in damages to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for “emotional suffering stemming directly from unlawful discrimination.”

After taking down the page raising money for the bakery in the belief that they have been unfairly targeted, victimized and mistreated, GoFundMe said in a statement that the campaign violated the site’s policy against raising money “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”

Continue reading

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Gay Marriage Combat Flashback: “When A Boycott Is Unethical”

Prop 8

Prolific commenter Steve-O suggested that my previous post, Planet Ethics To Earth’s Gay Marriage Combatants: “You’re Mean, You’re Disgusting, And You’re Embarrassing The Human Race”, would have done more good if I had written it a few years ago. That’s hindsight bias, of course, but I did point out the unethical nature of similar tactics more than a few years ago, when gay marriage advocates announced a boycott against the state of Utah. ( I also, more than a decade ago, explained why this debate would be intense and emotional, and suggested the only chance, admittedly a faint and likely futile one, that the anti-gay marriage forces had to prevail.) Steve’s suggestion is also fanciful, in that Perez Hilton’s inane pronouncements on a Lindsay Lohan Instagram carry about 100,000 times more weight and influence than anything written here, and probably more than anything written about ethics issues anywhere, by anyone.

With that sad fact noted, the renewal of the problem of punitive and unfair boycotts as well as the escalation of brutal tactics in the gay marriage wars justifies a re-print of this essay from the Ethics Scoreboard from 2008, shortly after Proposition 8 was voted into law by Californians. As an aside, I note with some nostalgia the sober style in which Scoreboard posts were written. Therein lies the difference between an ethics website that posted essays composed over several days, and an ethics blog that attempts to keep up with multiple issues a day. The former is certainly more professional in tone; the latter is more personal and unfiltered, and, as a result, more read.

In the wake of California’s popular vote to over-ride its Supreme Court and establish marriage as restricted to heterosexual couples, gay rights advocates are urging an economic boycott of the state of …Utah.

Why Utah? Well, the Mormon Church, based in Salt Lake City, encouraged its members to work for passage of California’s Proposition 8. Thousands of Mormons worked as grass-roots volunteers and Mormon contributors gave tens of millions of dollars to the campaign. “At a fundamental level, the Utah Mormons crossed the line,” said gay rights activist John Aravosis, whose AmericaBlog.com is urging the boycott. “They just took marriage away from 20,000 couples and made their children bastards. You don’t do that and get away with it.” Continue reading

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Planet Ethics To Earth’s Gay Marriage Combatants: “You’re Mean, You’re Disgusting, And You’re Embarrassing The Human Race”

earth-from-space

It is hard to mediate a dispute where both sides feel entitled to use scorched earth tactics that ensure that innocent people get hurt. The gay (or same-sex) marriage wars have quickly escalated to that point, and while it may have been predictable, it was not necessary.

Gay marriage advocates, who were winning and, it is now clear, will win, could have shown patience and compassion toward the unsuspecting Americans of faith who weren’t paying close attention to the epic cultural shift underway, and who are reacting like most human beings react when the basic traditions, assumptions, and beliefs that they grew up believing were good, fair and immutable suddenly move beneath their feet like unstable tectonic plates—with confusion, anger, fear, impulsive words and actions based on instinct and panic. The gay advocates couldn’t bring themselves to do it, though. They rationalized their aggressive strategy with the Goldwateresque “Extremism in the  defense of liberty is no vice” approach to social change. They insisted on demonizing opponents, without caring about their motives or their lack of understanding of the issues. Even passive acceptance wasn’t enough: the pro-gay marriage warriors had to purge contrary thoughts from the culture. Forget about tangible opposition: anyone who wasn’t thinking friendly thoughts about gays and their unions had to be destroyed. Use the fear of the tradition-bound against them. Crush them…beat them into submission.

It has been ugly, destructive, and wrong. American shouldn’t lose their jobs for signing a petition or voting for a referendum. States, and all their businesses and individual livelihoods, shouldn’t be boycotted because of misguided laws. This week, a family that just want to make and sell good pizza was drawn into a controversy it neither understood nor could be expected to, and was targeted for destruction after the owner made a comment rife with ignorance about, well, everything. Does it really matter that a pizza seller mistakenly thinks that it would be honorable and virtuous not to cater a hypothetical same-sex wedding reception? Does the family really have to be brought to its knees, made an example of, and ruined to teach anyone else what can happen to them if they don’t conform to the new, mandated belief system?

Who respects or likes people who act this way? We call them bullies. We call them cruel. We call them fanatics. ( This hateful CBS reporter tried to derail the GoFundMe effort to raise funds to rescue the pizza place.) Unless we are determined to understand their motives, we are very likely to hate them.

So the advocates of gay marriage really think it advances their cause, and it is a just cause, to make people hate and fear them.

What utter, utter folly.

Naturally, as in any war, the other side has responded in an equally brutal and ugly manner, just worse—dumber, to begin with. It’s Dresden for Coventry all over again.  Continue reading

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