- Claudia Grisales American-Statesman Staff
The man who accused Whole Foods Market of writing a homophobic slur on a cake will drop a lawsuit against the grocery chain.
“The company did nothing wrong,” Jordan Brown, a pastor of a small Austin church, said in a statement. “I was wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story.”
Brown had sued Whole Foods on April 18, announcing the lawsuit publicly while flanked by his lawyers. He emotionally told reporters that he had ordered a cake with “Love wins” written in frosting, Brown said. The cake he picked up, he said, had a homophobic slur on it.
Whole Foods fired back almost immediately, releasing surveillance footage of Brown purchasing the cake — evidence, the grocery chain said, showed that Brown was lying. The company filed a counter suit against Brown.
After receiving news that Brown was ending his lawsuit Monday, Whole Foods released a statement saying the company was ending its counter suit and that it was “very pleased that the truth has come to light.”
“Given Mr. Brown’s apology and public admission that his story was a complete fabrication, we see no reason to move forward with our counter suit to defend the integrity of our brand and team members,” Whole Foods’ statement said. The company’s counter suit had sought at least $100,000 in damages from Brown.
Brown, an openly gay pastor at the Church of Open Doors, which met regularly at the AMLI South Shore apartment complex on East Riverside Drive, issued several apologies with his statement announcing the end of his lawsuit.
“I want to apologize to Whole Foods and its team members for questioning the company’s commitment to its values,” Brown wrote in his statement.
Brown also apologized to his partner, his family, his fellow church members, his attorney and the LGBT community because he said he was “diverting attention from real issues.”
Brown’s attorney Austin Kaplan could not be immediately reached for comment.
Brown himself has been publicly silent since Whole Foods fired back with its own lawsuit and Brown’s social media accounts have had no new public posts. Shortly before 1 p.m. on Monday, both Brown’s Twitter and Facebook pages were apparently taken offline.