A Washington baker who found himself at the center of controversy late last week says he was only trying to be funny when writing “Build That Wall” on one of his Valentine’s Day cookies.
Ken Bellingham, who owns Edmonds Bakery in Edmonds, Wash., says he began getting complaints after photos of the item – a heart-shaped cookie with white icing spelling out the phrase – was shared to Facebook.
“People were just going off [but] they don’t know anything about me,” Bellingham told KING-TV. “And yet, I was supposedly this horrible person.”
Bellingham told the outlet he only wrote the phrase on one cookie that was placed into his display case, alongside other “risqué” cookies, some of which feature phrases such as “Sweet Heart” or “Addicted to Love.”
“I try to be funny,” he said.
A customer who spotted the cookies, however, didn’t think it was appropriate to make light of the subject in the first place, and told KING-TV that it feels the phrase is too often used by “white supremacists” and “the alt-right.”
Bellingham said someone else even called for a boycott following the backlash.
The bakery owner has since apologized and further claimed that building a border wall is “not anything” he would endorse, anyway.
“I don’t think building a wall is going to solve our problems,” he told the station.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.