Sign of the Times? Bakery Wins $11-Million Defamation Lawsuit Against Oberlin College. By Taki Theodoracopulos.
An interesting tale from the ground zero of political correctness, US liberal arts universities. First, the background:
Oberlin College has gained a reputation as one of the nation’s most insanely progressive institutions of higher learning…
In November 2016, three black Oberlin students were arrested after one of them used a fake ID and shoplifted from Gibson’s Bakery in nearby Elyria, OH [ohio]. The owner’s son, a white man named Allyn Gibson, followed the students out of the bakery and engaged in a physical altercation with them. As part of a subsequent plea deal, the black students pled guilty and signed statements declaring that the altercation was not racially motivated.
Naturally, none of this stopped Oberlin’s students, nor some of its faculty, from insisting that the event was racially motivated. Egged on by [a] … white female teacher named Meredith Raimondo, the bakery became the site of ceaseless public conniptions about white supremacist croissants or some such hysterical nonsense. Raimondo reportedly belched loudly from a megaphone during the “protests” and distributed flyers calling the bakery “racist.” …
Meredith Raimondo, Dean of Students
The bakery’s owners filed a defamation lawsuit, and last week a jury ruled in their favor to the tune of $11 million — which will potentially be tripled after a hearing on Tuesday regarding punitive damages. The jury found Oberlin and Ms. Raimondo guilty of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
So, the PC mob got their comeuppance. But how and by whom is even more interesting:
The Jury Hated Oberlin, by John Hinderaker.
Among other facts in the case, student protesters, accompanied by the Dean, handed out leaflets accusing Gibson’s of being “racist” because the store’s employees caught an African-American Oberlin student shoplifting a bottle of wine. Does that make sense to you? It didn’t make sense to the jury, either. …
Today the jury returned its verdict, assessing another $22 million [Correction: the jury assessed an additional $33 million, which will be reduced to $22 million–twice the compensatory damages–under Ohio law] against Oberlin, roughly the maximum amount allowed by law. The jury also assessed the Gibsons’ attorneys fees against Oberlin. …
Legal Insurrection has been all over this case …:
“In my view, the main significance of the jury’s verdict is that it shows how normal people react when they are exposed to today’s campus leftism.
You cannot sell to a normal person the idea that it is “racism” for a store to catch a student stealing a bottle of wine, and call the police, merely on account of the student’s skin color.
Social justice warrior culture is insane, and is properly judged as such by normal people, who — luckily for them — tend not to encounter it often. The jury’s reaction to the demonization of Gibson’s bakery is, I think, a good indication of how most Americans will respond if, and when, they realize how depraved the Left has become.
SJW Logic Vs. Common Sense, by David Bernstein.
Here’s Oberlin’s litigation position, from its court filings: “Gibson bakery’s archaic chase-and-detain policy regarding suspected shoplifters was the catalyst for the protests. The guilt or innocence of the students is irrelevant to both the root cause of the protests and this litigation.”
Get that? Whether the students accused of shoplifting had actually been shoplifting or not was irrelevant to whether it was fair to accuse the store of racism etc for detaining the students as shoplifters. The fault lay with the bakery owners for daring to actually stop and prosecute shoplifters!
This is the kind of b.s. that gets you A’s at Oberlin with a certain type of SJW professor, but that normal people rightly think defies common sense. But it can pay off in academia. A very prominent law professor got an Ivy League job after writing a silly book which, among other things, argued that whether the Al Sharpton-promoted Tawana Brawley hoax was true or not was besides the point, because the real issue was whether society was silencing African American girls like her who surely had something bad happen to them.
It should be apparent that there is a tremendous store of resentment built up in the general public (otherwise known as the “jury pool”) over how left-fascist university administrators (also known as the “defendants” and “deep pockets”) have bullied and intimidated conservative students and faculty members. There are numerous potential paths to liability involving these SJW schools, from tortious denial of constitutional/civil rights, to contract/employment actions, etc.
Oberlin administrators said they’d consider resuming business with the bakery if the bakery would agree to not push criminal charges on first-time shoplifters; that would solve the “profiling” problem.
Even worse, the lawsuit alleged that “credit was given to students who attended the protest in lieu of classes, and administrators bought them food to support them.”
Either identity politics eventually ends, or civilization as we know it ends. My money is on identity politics failing, perhaps in the next decade. The place to watch for a change in the tide are the US liberal arts colleges.