Watch Jordan Brown’s short video, posted below, for background. He claims he ordered a cake at WF that was supposed to say “Love Wins” and instead they handed him something that said “Love Wins, Fag.” Pay attention to the cake box, which he insists is unopened and unaltered. The label is on the bottom and the top of the box has a blue-green pattern on it. His video went viral and the predictable uproar ensued online, sending Whole Foods HQ into crisis management. In this case the crisis spin was easy: We would never write “Fag” on a cake, they insisted. And today they reiterated that claim — with evidence.
Whole Foods on Tuesday said it has investigated and said the man, Jordan Brown, made fraudulent claims and would take legal action.
“After a deeper investigation of Mr. Brown’s claim, we believe his accusations are fraudulent and we intend to take legal action against both Mr. Brown and his attorney,” the company said in the statement…
“We stand behind our bakery team member, who is part of the LGBTQ community, and we appreciate the team members and shoppers who recognize that this claim is completely false and directly contradicts Whole Foods Market’s inclusive culture, which celebrates diversity,” the company said.
It’s the surveillance video they posted that’s killer, though. Watch the second clip below. That’s Brown on the lower right in the orange shirt and blue pants approaching the register with a cake. The time on the video matches the time on Brown’s receipt. Here’s a still:
That sure looks like part of the label on top of the box. As you’ll see, the cashier scans it on top too, without touching the box at all. But here’s where the label is in the video Brown posted:
How’d the label get from the top of the box in the store to the bottom of the box at home? And although it’s hard to tell for sure, from a distance it looks like the top of the box in the surveillance video is plain brown cardboard, not the blue-green pattern seen on the box in Brown’s video. How’d that happen?
And one more thing via Karl and Drew, as a matter of basic common sense:
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) April 19, 2016
Have you ever in your life ordered a cake with an inscription and then not so much as glanced at it before leaving the store with it? If you were an employee hell-bent on insulting a gay customer, wouldn’t you find a less traceable way to do it than to hand him a cake with a slur written on top and risk him calling your manager over right then and there in the store to view the smoking gun for himself?
If you need further evidence that shenanigans are afoot here, note the comments cited in this piece by Mollie Hemingway questioning whether the color of the icing for the word “Fag” is really the same as for the other words on the cake. I confess, I didn’t expect Whole Foods to respond so forcefully, not only vowing legal action against Brown but actually posting the video to debunk him, despite the fact that they’re completely in the right in wanting to protect their reputation. But that’s shrewd crisis management in the Internet age, the surveillance video especially. The only way to chase down a lie that’s gone viral is with a truth capable of going viral. They know what they’re doing.