AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — A gay pastor who accused Whole Foods of giving him a cake with a homophobic slur on it is dropping his lawsuit.
“Today I am dismissing my lawsuit against Whole Foods Market,” Pastor Jordan Brown said in a statement Monday. “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,” Brown continued. “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.”
Brown originally sued Whole Foods Market last month in Travis County District Court.
The founder and lead pastor for the Church of Open Doors, Brown claimed that on April 14, 2016, he went to the bakery at the Whole Foods flagship store in Austin and asked for a cake to have the personalized message “Love Wins” in icing on the top.
But when Brown left the store with the cake and looked at it for the first time, he claimed that the bakery employee had written the slur “Love Wins Fag” on the cake instead of his requested message.
Brown said that he complained to Whole Foods about the offensive message but that the store did not properly address the incident.
Whole Foods vehemently denied Brown’s allegations about the cake and posted video footage that appeared to refute his claims. Whole Foods later responded with a defamation counterclaim against him.
“The counterdefendant, Jordan Brown, intentionally, knowingly, and falsely accused Whole Foods and its employees of writing the homosexual slur ‘Fag’ on a custom-made cake that he ordered from WFM’s Lamar Store, in Austin, Texas,” Whole Foods’ countersuit said.
“WFM and their employees did not put this slur on the cake. The cake was in the sole possession and control of Mr. Brown from the time it left WFM until he posted a video showing the slur and publishing his false statement to the general public. Mr. Brown acted with malice and he has damaged the reputation and business of WFM.”
After Brown’s apology, Whole Foods responded Monday by saying it was willing to forget the whole matter.”We’re very pleased that the truth has come to light,” the company said in a statement. “Given Mr. Brown’s apology and public admission that his story was a complete fabrication, we see no reason to move forward with our countersuit to defend the integrity of our brand and team members.”
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