Why we’re covering this: Fake claims of anti-LGBT discrimination harm the credibility of legitimate discrimination claims. We’d like to lay this story to rest and present a fable of what happens when people abuse media to create undeserved sympathy.
Remember Pastor Jordan Brown? He’s the Austin, Texas-based pastor who claimed in April that a Whole Foods bakery wrote “Love Wins Fag” on a cake he ordered. He sued the store for the slur and the store counter-sued after store camera footage helped reveal he had tampered with the cake box after bringing it home. Now the Pastor has pretty much admitted that he made the whole thing up… and it gets even weirder because he may not even be a real pastor.
Brown has dropped his lawsuit and so has Whole Foods. He issued the following statement:
Today I am dismissing my lawsuit against Whole Foods Market. The company did nothing wrong. I was wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story. I want to apologize to Whole Foods and its team members for questioning the company’s commitment to its values, and especially the bakery associate who I understand was put in a terrible position because of my actions. I apologize to the LGBT community for diverting attention from real issues. I also want to apologize to my partner, my family, my church family, and my attorney.
Whole Foods, by the way, has an HRC Corporate Equality Index rating of 85 out of 100 for failing to cover transgender medical procedures and for “engaging in action that would undermine the goal of LGBT equality.”
When The Daily Dot looked closer at Brown’s church, Austin’s Church of Open Doors, they found that the church’s listed address actually lead to AMLI South Shore luxury apartments and the apartment managers have never heard of any church gatherings there.
Furthermore, though the church website is three years old and has a PayPal donation link, there seems to be little information online about Brown and his church. The church held a GoFundMe campaign for $7,000 in March 2014, but only raised $2,810. The organization’s Facebook page hasn’t been updated since Brown made his cake claim and Brown has recently deleted his Twitter account. He also deleted Facebook posts he initially made about the “fag cake.”
The religious news website GetReligion.org noted that there’s no real evidence that Brown’s church even exists as no media have ever talked to any of Brown’s congregants or attended a single church service. Interestingly, Texas news station KXAN noted that in March 2016, Brown had been sued for defaulting on a $27,000 student loan.