On November 3, 2019, I wrote about a CBS News Sunday Morning feature by Ted Koppel about Gibson’s Bakery, its owners, and the years-long struggle to obtain justice after being targeted by Oberlin College, its administrators, faculty, staff, and students.

My post was, Ted Koppel: Despite verdict, Oberlin College President still “makes allusions to a pattern of racist behavior” by Gibson’s Bakery. Read the post for background on the events, and Oberlin College’s post-trial campaign to portray the Gibson’s as racist notwithstanding the jury verdict and evidence to the contrary. It’s astounding, what I called Oberlin College’s “almost sociopathic malevolence” towards Gibson’s Bakery.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZUzUN3iG48

[CBS News]

Koppel focused heavily on the post-trial targeting of the Gibsons, A protest against racism, and a $31.5 million defamation award.

KOPPEL: …. But to this day, the president of Oberlin makes allusions to a pattern of racist behavior, if not the specific incident that set things off three years ago.

AMBAR Well, the students pled guilty to the shoplifting. Um, there has been some debate about whether it was shoplifting or  false ID.

KOPPEL: It was both.

AMBAR: Right. Well, I think that, that one of the things that the college has always said is that the college has not, doesn’t condone shoplifting, doesn’t condone bad behavior by its students in any way, shape or form. But what led up to the protest, and I think that’s sort of kind of the core issue here, was some series of things that happened before. Some perspectives about people’s experiences in the store.

KOPPEL: Tell me about, tell me about those then. And be specific. What specific incidents are you referring to that happened before?

AMBAR: Right, well, I think that the specific incidents would be, the perception by faculty and students and staff and other people in the town that there had been disparate treatment with respect to people of color in the store. The way I would phrase it, kind of different lived experiences.

DAVE O’BRIEN: This is all basically anecdotal evidence that people …

KOPPEL: Dave O’Brien covered the trials for the local paper, the Chronicle-Telegram

O’BRIEN: People commenting on a, on social media saying I had a, um, I, I felt, I felt uncomfortable in there. I felt like I was targeted because of the color of my skin.

There was no evidence presented in court supporting the claim of a long history of racial profiling. There was an interesting portion when Ambar clearly was uncomfortable, when Koppel pressed her as to what her reputation was worth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZUzUN3iG48

KOPPEL: (Narration) What is a reputation worth? (Question to Ambar) You’re a very distinguished academic. What’s your reputation worth?

AMBAR: My reputation is important.

KOPPEL: It’s worth a lot, isn’t it? (Ambar shakes head Yes) I mean, if your reputation was destroyed overnight, you could hardly put a price on that could you.

AMBAR: Well, I certainly believe that reputations are important, but here’s what’s also true, and it’s the jury system that we have, right? And the legal system that we have. That we go through a legal process that makes that determination. And what the institution has said is that we believe that this determination was excessive.

Watch the WHOLE THING, it was well done.

Particularly watch the very end, when Koppel notes that David Gibson may not live to see a final result in the case.

David Gibson died two weeks after the CBS News story aired. He was able to see the story before he died, and was gratified that Koppel pushed back against Ambars’ comments.

(if video does not load, click here)

The CBS News story now has been nominated for an Emmy Award:

https://theemmys.tv/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/news-41st-nominations-v01.pdf

The Gibsons’ attorneys issued a press release about the Emmy nomination:

“The Emmy® award nomination is a testament to both the universal appeal of this case and the legendary reporting of Mr. Koppel,” said [lead trial attorney for the Gibsons, Lee] Plakas. “The CBS Sunday Morning feature provides an excellent, unbiased overview of the facts of this case — and serves as a fitting tribute to the life of David Gibson as he fought tirelessly to protect his family’s name and reputation.”

The segment includes the last television interview given by Gibson, who passed away on Nov. 16, 2019, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer which he fought through during the six-week trial, although his illness was not disclosed to the jury.

The appeal of the verdict is pending. Media entities allegedly colluding with Oberlin College continue to seek to unseal the private Facebook records of Allyn D. Gibson, David’s son, who was not a party to the case and did not testify at trial.

The price of defending the family’s name continues to be paid.

 

 
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