AUSTIN, Texas (Christian Examiner) – Jordan Brown, the gay pastor of the welcoming and affirming Church of Open Doors in Austin – a church that allows homosexual members and approves of their lifestyle – has publicly admitted that his claim of purchasing a cake with a gay slur on it from an Austin grocery store was a hoax.
The pastor, who sued Whole Foods Market after he claimed in a video April 14 that he ordered a personalized cake at the store only to find that it had been inscribed with the phrase "Love Wins Fag," issued a statement clearing the grocer of any wrongdoing.
In the statement, an apology without an admission of responsibility for actually altering the cake, Brown said the company had "done nothing wrong."
"I was wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story. I want to apologize to Whole Foods and its team members for questioning the company's commitment to its values, and especially the bakery associate who I understand was put in a terrible position because of my actions. I apologize to the LGBT community for diverting attention from real issues. I also want to apologize to my partner, my family, my church family, and my attorney," Brown said in a statement.
Although Brown did not disclose why he chose to craft his story or describe the means he used set his plan in motion, his apology was sufficient for the offended party – Whole Foods Market. In a brief statement, the company said it was glad the incident was over and that it did not plan to pursue the matter further:
"We're 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," the statement said.
When Brown went public with his claim about the cake with the gay slur – with tears, and flanked by his family and attorney – Whole Foods Market immediately filed a counter suit. The company argued its corporate culture made such an incident highly unlikely.
The company also had a secret weapon or two in its arsenal. Within hours of the story gaining traction in the media, the grocer issued a statement claiming the baker who prepared the cake was a member of the "LGBT community." It then released the surveillance video of Brown purchasing the cake.
"Mr. Brown admits that he was in sole possession and control of the cake until he posted his video, which showed the UPC label on the bottom and side of the box," the company's statement said. When the cake left the store, however, the UPC label was on the top of the box, where it was scanned by a cashier.
Brown has not posted to his church's Facebook page since April 18 when the scandal broke. His sermon for the day, "Growing in a Dark Place," with content related to the chain of events surrounding the cake hoax, has also been removed from YouTube.