Oberlin College pays bakery it called 'racist' over $36 million after years-long defamation lawsuit

Gibson’s Bakery and Food Mart received $36.6 million from Oberlin College

Oberlin College in Ohio has paid out over $36 million to Gibson’s Bakery and Food Mart after years of attempting to overturn a jury decision that the college had defamed the local business.

In 2016, Allyn Gibson, the son of Gibson’s Bakery and Food Mart owners David Gibson and Allyn Gibson, chased and tackled a Black student who was suspected of stealing a bottle of wine on Nov. 9, 2016. Two students at Oberlin College, who are also Black and were friends with the student who stole the bottle, got involved in the incident, which became physical.

In a statement to Fox 8, an Oberlin College spokesperson said that the institution has paid $36.6 million to the bakery. The amount covers the damages awarded, legal fees, and interest accrued.

Brandon McHugh, an attorney representing the Gibsons, confirmed to WKYC that the funds have been received.

OHIO BAKERY CELEBRATES DEFAMATION WIN OVER OBERLIN, VOWS TO REBUILD WHAT FALSE ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM DESTROYED

Pedestrians pass the storefront of Gibson's Food Mart and Bakery in Oberlin, Ohio, on Nov. 22, 2017.

Pedestrians pass the storefront of Gibson's Food Mart and Bakery in Oberlin, Ohio, on Nov. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Dake Kang, File)

"We can confirm that all funds have been disbursed and that the family is continuing with the process of rebuilding Gibson’s Bakery for the next generations," McHugh said.

The three students were arrested and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, court documents state.

In 2017, the owners of Gibson’s Bakery and Food Mart sued Oberlin College, alleging that the school had libeled them and caused harm to their business.

OHIO COLLEGE RACKS UP MILLIONS IN INTEREST ON CASH OWED TO BAKERY OVER FALSE RACISM ALLEGATIONS

A student riding a bicycle on the campus of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. The 9th District Court of Appeals upheld a $31 million judgment on Thursday, March 31, 2022, against Oberlin College that had been awarded to Gibson's Bakery and Food Mart, which had successfully claimed that it had been libeled by the school after a shoplifting incident in November 2016.

A student riding a bicycle on the campus of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. The 9th District Court of Appeals upheld a $31 million judgment on Thursday, March 31, 2022, against Oberlin College that had been awarded to Gibson's Bakery and Food Mart, which had successfully claimed that it had been libeled by the school after a shoplifting incident in November 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Oberlin College students protested outside the bakery following the shoplifting incident. During a protest, former Oberlin College vice president and dean of students Meredith Raimondo handed out flyers stating that the bakery was a "RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION," according to court documents.

College resources were also used to print flyers and buy food and other supplies to support the protesters. The school also stopped buying food from the bakery.

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In this Nov. 22, 2017 file photo, pedestrians pass the storefront of Gibson's Food Mart & Bakery in Oberlin, Ohio. 

In this Nov. 22, 2017 file photo, pedestrians pass the storefront of Gibson's Food Mart & Bakery in Oberlin, Ohio.  (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

After a jury returned a judgment in favor of the bakery, ordering Oberlin College to pay $44 million, the damages were lowered to $25 million. A court ordered Oberlin College to front an additional $6.5 million to cover legal expenses in 2019. 

Oberlin College appealed the case all the way up to the Ohio Supreme Court, which declined to take up the matter.

The Associated Press and Fox News' Emma Colton contributed to this report.