Oberlin College Found Guilty of Attacking and Slandering Local Business

Oberlin College has been found guilty of helping to organize a smear campaign against local citizens:

Oberlin College has been ordered by a jury to pay $44 million to a local bakery and convenience store after the midwestern liberal arts school was found responsible for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and intentional interference of business relationships.

Here’s more.

In November 2017, approximately one year after the incident, Gibson’s filed a civil lawsuit against Oberlin in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. The bakery accused the college of supporting and promoting the students’ claims of racism and sued the liberal arts school, as well as Raimondo, for libel, slander, interference with business relationships, interference with contracts, deceptive trade practices, infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring and trespass.

The bakery’s owners argued that Oberlin College “facilitated, encouraged, and promoted the illegal defamation and economic boycott” of Gibson’s Bakery by helping students copy and distribute fliers, suspending classes and supplying protesters with free food and drink. College leaders also “encouraged students to demonstrate outside Gibson’s Bakery in lieu of attending scheduled classes and provided credit to the students who attended and participated in the demonstration(s),” according to the complaint. Additionally, Gibson’s argued a Facebook post by an Oberlin’s Department of Africana Studies stated: “Gibson’s has been bad for decades, their dislike of Black people is palpable. Their food is rotten and they profile Black students. NO MORE!”

The lawsuit claimed college tour guides continue to advise prospective and future students not to shop at Gibson’s Bakery because it is a “racist establishment” that “assaults students,” the complaint stated.

As a result, the lawsuit argued, “Gibson’s Bakery has suffered a severe and sustained loss of student, professor, administrative and college department business.”

It has recently become clear to me that, more often than not, accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia are just ad hominem attacks designed to shut down one’s ideological opponent.  It’s encouraging to see that a Court recognizes the same dynamic – these attempts to smear the bakery were slanderous and deceptive.

Oberlin responded by arguing that none of the statements cited by the bakery’s owners had been defamatory, and said the school was not responsible for the views expressed by its students. The college said Raimondo attended the demonstrations to “ensure that students’ freedom of speech was protected and that the student demonstrations were safe and lawful.”

LOL!  That explains why the Jury awarded the bakery such a high amount – Oberlin College thinks the Bakery, and its supporting base from the local citizens, are stupid.  For only the stupid would believe Oberlin’s spin.  If I was on the jury, I would have been offended by this response and likewise voted for such a high penalty.  It’s time the social justice academics learn to be less careless with their wild-eyed accusations of racism, homophobia, etc.

As for Oberlin College, what type of parent sends their child to such a school?

Answer – A Fool.

And here’s another summary article with some video.

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30 Responses to Oberlin College Found Guilty of Attacking and Slandering Local Business

  1. Kevin says:

    This was a very pleasing outcome. Hopefully more people falsely accused of bigotry will follow suit, as it were.

  2. apollyon911 says:

    Nice to see how the SJW’s are paying a price for their oppression of innocents. Not so fun when they are hit

  3. nsr says:

    Hit them where it hurts the most – in the pocket.

  4. stcordova says:

    For a change REAL justice prevailed over socialist “justice”.

  5. Mr. Ron says:

    Social Justice Warriors need to stop making war and try giving peace a chance.

  6. TFBW says:

    There can be no peace for the Social Justice Warrior. There will always be a Most Bigoted Person who must be fought and silenced. The war for Social Justice has no condition under which victory can be declared.

  7. pennywit says:

    Among right-wingers, there seems to be more interest in sticking it to the evil “SJWs” than in actual justice.

  8. Kevin says:

    Among right-wingers, there seems to be more interest in sticking it to the evil “SJWs” than in actual justice.

    For example? Not saying you are wrong, but I can’t think of any examples, but tons of counterexamples.

  9. pennywit says:

    Honestly? Some right here in this comment section.

  10. pennywit says:

    Assessing a defamation claim asserted in an American court can be difficult if you don’t have at least a passing knowledge of the relevant law (for example, public vs. private figures, statements of fact vs. opinion, etc.). More generally, there’s also the notion of a just verdict. Even if we accept, arguendo, that Oberlin committed tortious conduct, $44 million is an outsized verdict.

    I have more than a few friends who run in alt-right circles. I conversed with one of them, at length, about the Nicholas Sandmann lawsuits. He seemed rather surprised when I outlined the relevant law and posited that Sandmann would have a difficult time recovering damages against the Post and other media outlets. He said he was mostly glad that “the media are finally facing consequences,” the facts and law be damned.

    As for more public stuff — I don’t have anything immediately on tap and I don’t have time for a specific search, but I’ll keep my eye open and post things here as I find them.

  11. Kevin says:

    The only thing I can figure out is that you are using a different definition of justice. It’s not about meeting government standards (which is a problematic standard for anything moral).

    Rather, people are finally facing negative consequences for their bad behavior, which is a form of justice. I would love for the media to have to shell out millions for their smearing of Sandmann, but I would also not support a judge ignoring relevant law to make it happen.

    Of course, I might then question whatever law allows media to smear a teenager on a world stage and face no negative fallout whatsoever, which is allowing them to escape justice.

  12. pennywit says:

    Consider justice and revenge.

    A few years ago, a dry cleaner ruined two pairs of my pants. They called me to apologize and asked me how much the pants were worth. I averred that I had paid about forty dollars each for them. The dry cleaner sent me a check for eighty dollars. I deposited the check. I was made whole. That was the end of the affair. That was justice.

    Some years back, a dry cleaner lost a DC Administrative Law Judge’s pants. The judge wanted “justice.” In a just world, he would be entitled to compensation for the loss of his pants. And they were nice pants, supposedly worth around five hundred bucks. But he didn’t seek the five hundred. He wanted hundreds of thousands of dollars, based on an over-the-top (not to mention wrong) reading of DC consumer-protection law. He wasn’t looking for justice. He was looking for revenge. (And maybe an unearned payout).

  13. Kevin says:

    I agree that the first was justice and the second was not.

    But the media’s behavior was more akin to the lawyer. The whole video providing context was available, but they ran with an edited version and smeared an innocent teenager because he was wearing a hat they didn’t like, and used it as an angle to attack Trump and his supporters as racists.

    Same with the college. They supported the smearing of innocent people in order to push a particular narrative. Such behavior warrants corrective action to prevent future innocents from suffering in like manner.

    Basically, if nothing happens to prevent these huge institutions from running over innocent people, then justice has not been served. Justice requires accountability.

  14. pennywit says:

    How do you define “smear?”

  15. TFBW says:

    Let me google that for you.
    smear verb 2. damage the reputation of (someone) by false accusations; slander.

  16. Kevin says:

    TFBW answered accurately. Sandmann was not being aggressive, he was not being racist, he was not bullying, he was not violating anyone’s personal space. The media reported that he was doing those things to an international audience, prompting huge amounts of hatred to be directed his way. Over something he didn’t do.

    Oberlin College actively encouraged and supported students who were falsely accusing the Gibsons’ bakery of being racist. It has cost them tons of money. Over something they didn’t do.

    In the latter case, justice is being served. The offending party is being forced to compensate its innocent victims. Now if only Sandmann can get justice, too.

  17. TFBW says:

    Once these people have decided that you are Racist, there is no limit to what can be justified.

  18. TFBW says:

    If you’d rather watch a video, here’s Tim Pool’s commentary on that Legal Insurrection Twitter thread.

  19. nsr says:

    What on earth has gone wrong with the Western world that teenagers and young adults behave like little children and adults supposedly in authority over them pander to it?

  20. pennywit says:

    Sandmann was not being aggressive, he was not being racist, he was not bullying, he was not violating anyone’s personal space. The media reported that he was doing those things to an international audience, prompting huge amounts of hatred to be directed his way. Over something he didn’t do.

    What is “aggressive?” What is “racist?” What is “bullying?” What is “violating anyone’s personal space?” Many of these are analyses or statements of opinion — and statements of opinion (rather than fact) are generally protected under the First Amendment.

    And, of course, who is “the media?” There are lots of media orgs out there.

    This is part of what I mean about putting revenge ahead of justice. There seems to be little care about substance, or about whom the lawsuits target. There’s just this demand that “the media” be held accountable.

    Incidentally, I have read all of the Sandmann complaints. They are pleaded in exquisite detail, but most of the putatively defamatory statements are actually statements of opinion. Moreover, the complaints rely heavily on “defamatory gist” rather than citing specific defamatory statements. They are also served up with a great deal of razzle-dazzle designed to push right-wing media figures into high dudgeon. Sandmann does have a potential path to victory, but it is a very, very narrow path.

  21. TFBW says:

    … most of the putatively defamatory statements are actually statements of opinion.

    I expect that this is factually correct. I’d be curious to know how this affects your take on “justice” (as opposed to retribution), though.

    Suppose, for the sake of argument, that certain media outlets have the ability to shape people’s views of the facts just by expressing an opinion about those facts. Suppose that some top-tier newspaper or TV network had, through expressing nothing but negative opinion about Sandman, prejudiced a large portion of society into thinking that he was a nasty little racist when, as a matter of fact, he was an almost entirely passive participant in the affair, who held his peace under provoking circumstances.

    Is that damage to Sandman’s reputation unjust?

  22. Kevin says:

    Is that damage to Sandman’s reputation unjust?

    Particularly when these so-called journalists did not even bother verifying facts before applying their spin.

    What is “aggressive?” What is “racist?” What is “bullying?” What is “violating anyone’s personal space?”

    All things various media outlets with international audiences accused him of doing. Also, all things he did not do outside of edited video.

    You are still talking about the legal system. I’m speaking of just and unjust, moral and immoral. Those are two very different things. Justice can be met on a legal front but a victim not receive justice at the same time.

    Again, if nothing happens to make major media outlets think twice and make absolutely certain their facts are straight before smearing someone (let alone a kid) on an international scale, then justice has not been met. Unless you think that behavior does not warrant condemnation and discouragement?

  23. pennywit says:

    Suppose that some top-tier newspaper or TV network had, through expressing nothing but negative opinion about Sandman, prejudiced a large portion of society into thinking that he was a nasty little racist when, as a matter of fact, he was an almost entirely passive participant in the affair, who held his peace under provoking circumstances.

    Is that damage to Sandman’s reputation unjust?

    An opinion could be defamatory if it implies some untrue secret fact. But in the Sandmann case, there’s enough wiggle-room in the video (even the later, full video) that a person could express a variety of opinions about Sandmann’s conduct and/or character without defaming him.

  24. Kevin says:

    So to be clear, your position is that people should be okay with billion dollar international media outlets showing an edited video about a teenager and expressing and inspiring negative opinions about him, to the point celebrities with huge audiences are talking about how they would like to punch him in the face and people cheer and laugh? Your position is that such irresponsible and misleading “reporting” by an organization with that much sway should be dismissed as acceptable behavior, so long as their negative spin could kinda sorta maybe be plausible in a way, from a certain point of view?

    Because that is the only way I can see how anyone could not believe Sandmann deserves justice.

  25. pennywit says:

    Kevin:
    In my previous comment, I responded to TFBW, not to you. At least wait for my rejoinder before you condemn me for it.

  26. Kevin says:

    And i was responding to your response to him. I didn’t realize people were not allowed to do that, my apologies.

  27. pennywit says:

    It’s more a topic thing. You wanted to discuss universal justice. My response to TFBW was pure defamation law.

  28. TFBW says:

    I didn’t ask you about defamation law; I asked whether the damage caused to Sandman’s reputation was unjust. Implicit in my question is that a distinction might be made between justice and legality. Embrace or deny that distinction as you see fit in your response.

  29. pennywit says:

    You’re right. You did.

  30. Isaac says:

    The verdict was not “outsized.” It was based on the actual damage and loss suffered by the bakery (they were effectively ruined) plus the punitive damages required to actually affect the university (based on their complete lack of humility before, during, and after the trial, it probably wasn’t enough. They don’t seem to have learned any lesson.) No one gets any more educated about our legal system by flippant claims that the verdict was “outrageous.”

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