Editor’s Note: Explicit content and crude language below.
It’s called ironic: Yelp users are accusing a Christian cake artist of hate with hateful reviews in order to protest a recent Supreme Court decision.
On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 7-2 in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to create a cake for a gay wedding, in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. But while the court concluded the case, users on consumer review site Yelp didn’t – and they accused Phillips’s bakery of everything from food poisoning to hate, while also making Nazi comparisons.
None of them appeared to challenge Phillips’s actual reasoning. When the Supreme Court heard the arguments in 2017, Phillips stressed that his faith teaches that “God designed marriage as the union of one man and one woman” in a USA Today opinion piece.
“I’m happy to sell a cake to anyone, whatever his or her sexual identity,” he wrote, but he found this “a message tailored to a specific couple and a specific event — a message telling all who see it that this event is a wedding and that it is an occasion for celebration.”
But that’s not how critics saw it. On the day of the court’s decision, gay-marriage supporters “flocked” to Yelp to leave bad (and in many cases, fake) reviews of Phillips’ bakery, according to The Guardian.
In response, Yelp currently features an “active cleanup alert” because “we will ultimately remove reviews that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than by the reviewer’s own customer experience with the business.” But the site still has more than 500 reviews that are “not currently recommended” due to their nature.
On June 4 and June 5, those reviews largely consisted of Yelp users (many from outside Colorado) accusing Phillips of hate and bigotry.
“They are good, as long as you are alt right Christian,” wrote reviewer Chris B of the bakery. Otherwise, “they poison their cupcakes, causing severe diarrhea and vomiting.”
He wasn’t the only one who resorted to diarrhea. Kevin R. also warned, “Cake gave me explosive diarrhea” while Cody H. declared, “I ordered a cake from them for my heterosexual wedding and it gave everyone diarrhea.”
Satan was also a popular fallback in reviews. Jess M. decided that “After a long hard day of worshiping Satan there cakes are the perfect treat to dive into,” even “Almost as good as diving into my lesbian lover!!” But Sarah C. was “pretty sure” it was Phillips who “worships satan and not any god since turning people away is not among the tenants of a loving Christian.”
But the majority of critics resorted to “hate.”
Linda D. stressed that “Their wedding cakes are to die for” with ingredients like “ten cups of hate” and “one stupid view of love as defined as only man and woman,” while Brian A. added that “If your religion requires you to hate or discriminate than your religion is s**t.”
Sean H. said his cake was made with “extra homophobia” while Jade Gladstone joked, “Hate cakes! Get your hate cakes here!” Joshua H. agreed that the bakery’s “not-so-secret ingredient” was “unwarranted hate.”
As a consequence, Chris V. even suggested physical punishment for the bakery. He declared Phillips and his staff “should be stoned for their sins, hypocrisy, ignorance, bigotry, and vile against their neighbor [sic].”
All the way from the U.K., Keegan B. remembered the owner’s “dirty fingernails” and a staff member “picking their nose.” The cake was “dry and outdated” just like Phillips with “his outdated prejudiced views.”
Others claimed Phillips was racist.
Calvin D. called Phillips a “#Racist pig who insulted my wife for her skin color” before they “walked out of his #kkk establishment.” Charlie B. insisted that “Jesus would have baked the damn cake” because “Not baking a cake for a gay couple is like not seating a black person in a restaurant.”
Others, like Kerry P., went so far as to say “I’m sure some Nazis made lovely cakes. I wouldn’t eat those either.”
But a few reviewers stood by Phillips and his faith.
Brandon G. thanked Phillips for “standing up for what you believe in,” and encouraged him not to “let these people tear you down.” Sheila G. also applauded Phillips and reminded him that “God is always with you.”
Others stressed that critics should voice their opinions by not shopping at Phillips’s bakery anymore – rather than leaving false reviews.
Ali G. wrote, “If somebody is not comfortable with providing you a service, instead of whining, take your business elsewhere,” and compared the situation to a Muslim catering company that couldn’t provide pork dishes. Likewise Jory L. added, “If you don’t like this guy’s beliefs, then don’t do business with him.”
The attacks aren’t new for Phillips. Last year, Phillips revealed the criticism he faced in an interview with CBS This Morning.
“Phone calls were coming, harassing, swearing at you to where my wife was afraid to come into the shop at points,” he said while tearing up. “There were just – there were tears and it was just like, ‘What’s going on? What do we do?’”
One thing we don’t do – or, rather, shouldn’t do – is claim to fight hate with hateful comments. The hypocrisy and irony of it all discredits the arguments against a man who says he’s willing to put his business on the line for his faith.