The next phase in the Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College case is the award of attorney’s fees to the Gibsons. A hearing is scheduled for July 10. Dan McGraw will be at the hearing for us, and we will preview the issues once motion papers are filed and available.

In the meantime, I noticed something interesting.

In late June, after the massive $11 million compensatory and $33 million punitive damage verdicts (later reduced to $25 million under Ohio tort reform caps), a reader wrote to me about something taking place at Reddit:

In an interesting maneuver that I haven’t see before, an Oberlin-affiliated individual who has been jousting about the Gibson’s case on the Oberlin subreddit ( today managed to get herself appointed as the “moderator.” She promptly announced that she was going to delete everyone’s Gibson’s related posts, only allow posts on one thread, and she would personally delete and/or ban what she didn’t like.

The reader believed he had identified this moderator by name as a 2008 Oberlin College grad. I don’t think I clicked over because I don’t spend any time on Reddit. That might be my mistake, since it’s obviously a big thing, often in the news for the action in its various groups and online events. Reddit can drive news cycles.

But then a second reader called this situation to my attention.

In a comment to the post Gibson’s Bakery disputes Oberlin College public relations campaign claiming it was “held liable for the speech of its students”, reader Artichoke wrote:

When she took over a couple years ago, Ambar held a meeting and then issued an internal letter basically saying Oberlin was in trouble already. (Nice move to lessen her own responsibility to fix it, but then she’s a sociopath.)

Reddit’s group for Oberlin College has created a thread, which they’re censoring pretty heavily but the new legal FAQ from Gibson’s lawyers is still up there.

Okay, two readers thought this was something. This time I clicked over:

Not far down, I saw a reference to Legal Insurrection:

“It is particularly frustrating to watch people parrot whatever opinion they’ve read on Legal Insurrection that day”

That’s an interesting concept. But I doubt people were “parrot[ing] whatever opinion” they read here. To the contrary, it’s more likely that people were reading our reporting of court papers, testimony, and evidence, and drawing opinions the author of that Reddit post didn’t like.

We frequently presented Oberlin College’s side of the story, but that side of the story was incredibly weak on the facts. That weakness on the facts was compounded by an offensively tone-deaf and demeaning defense. It came back to bite them not because of our opinions, but because the jury apparently saw what we saw. If Oberlin College wins an appeal, it’s going to be on a legal issue, not on the facts.

Oberlin College should be ashamed of its conduct, but it’s not. It’s emboldened, if anything, as witnessed by the post-verdict crisis management public relations campaign to spin Oberlin College as having been held liable for student speech. It’s just not true.

Oberlin College needs an intervention. Someone who truly cares about the college needs to tell the administration and its defenders to stop. That’s just my opinion, please don’t parrot it, particularly not on Reddit.

For those who are new here, here’s a listing of most (but not all) of our posts related to the protests and the case.

Legal Insurrection Prior Coverage

Pre-Trial Posts:

Trial Posts:

Post-Compensatory Verdict Posts

Punitive Damages Hearing Posts

Post- Punitive Damages Verdict Posts



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