Whole Foods, the US-based grocery chain, is counter-suing a gay pastor who launched an action against it after he claimed an anti-gay message was iced on a cake he bought.
Jordan Brown, who is gay and the founder of the Church of Open Doors, ordered a cake and asked for the slogan 'Love Wins' to be written on it. However, he claims he noticed on his way home that an employee had added an offensive word to the lettering.
Brown is suing the company for emotional distress and for failing to respond adequately to his complaint.
However, Whole Foods rejected his claim and has now said it will counter-sue. It said in a statement: "After a deeper investigation of Mr Brown's claim, we believe his accusations are fraudulent and we intend to take legal action against both Mr. Brown and his attorney."
The statement included a detailed rebuttal of claims, noting that the barcode label appeared to have been moved from the top to the side of the cake package. Whole Foods also released security footage showing Brown looking closely at the cake at the checkout in Austin, Texas, implicitly questioning his account of noticing the offensive word only at a traffic light on the way home.
It said: "We stand behind our bakery team member, who is part of the LGBTQ community, and we appreciate the team members and shoppers who recognize that this claim is completely false and directly contradicts Whole Foods Market's inclusive culture, which celebrates diversity."