The bakery shop has been a local, family-owned business for over a century, according to the court case.
The suit followed an incident last year when three Oberlin students - Jonathan Aladin, Cecelia Whettston and Endia Lawrence - entered Gibson’s Bakery with the “knowledge or intent that Jonathan Aladin would attempt to steal wine or otherwise illegally obtain wine,” the bakery claimed.
Aladin was later charged with robbery, a second-degree felony, while Whettston and Lawrence were charged with first-degree misdemeanor assault. All of them confirmed their arrests were not “racially motivated,” according to the lawsuit.
However, the arrests resulted in protests by Oberlin College students and “accusations of racism were leveled at Gibson’s by some of the protestors,” which further turned into what Gibson’s Bakery claimed as defamation.
“Oberlin College representatives handed out hundreds of copies of the flyer… stating that Gibson’s Bakery and its owners (David and Allyn Gibson) racially profiled and discriminated against Aladin, Whettston and Lawrence,” the suit said.
Bon Appetit Management Company, Oberlin College’s food services subcontractor, also ceased its long-term contract with Gibson’s Bakery.
Gibson's Bakery is demanding puntive damages of $25,000.
The bakery's manager would not supply BakeryandSnacks with a comment on the litigation.
Oberlin College denied and rejected all claims asserted in the lawsuit filed by Gibson’s Bakery.
In a public statement, it said the allegations are “untrue and we will vigorously defend against them.
“The college values its long relationship with the town of Oberlin and its businesses, including Gibson's Bakery,” the school added.
“We are saddened that the Gibson family has chosen to pursue litigation. As this is now a legal matter, the college will suspend, effective immediately, its business relationships with Gibson's Bakery until such time as a mutually productive relationship may be re-established.”
Oberlin College provided no further comment.