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Oberlin College to Pay $11 Million for Furthering Racism Allegations Against Local Bakery

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On Friday, the owners of Gibson's Bakery won a lawsuit against Oberlin College in Ohio and were awarded $11 million in damages for libel and infliction of emotional distress, with an additional hearing for punitive damages set to begin Tuesday that could inflate the bill for the college to $33 million.

Fox News reports

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."

This marks a huge win against the college that the lawsuit claimed actively assisted protests against the bakery back in Nov. 2016 labeling Gibson's racist.

The lawsuit as put by Fox News was filed late 2018, alleging,

'On Nov. 7, the Gibsons sued Oberlin and Meredith Raimondo, vice president and dean of students, for slander, accusing faculty members of encouraging demonstrations against the bakery by suspending classes, distributing flyers, and supplying protesters with free food and drink.' 

Oberlin College, still trying to claim its innocence, sent out an email giving their thoughts on the verdict: 

“We are disappointed with the verdict and regret that the jury did not agree with the clear evidence our team presented,” the statement reads. “Neither Oberlin College nor Dean Meredith Raimondo defamed a local business or its owners, and they never endorsed statements made by others. 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.”

The Gibsons, meanwhile, posted a video after their win in court against the college, saying that they are "in shock" still after all the stress put on their family.

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