Marlene Goetzeler, who is the co-owner of Freeport Bakery in Sacramento, California, said she wasn’t prepared for the heat she and her colleagues received after she posted a photo of the cake, which was produced for a customer’s birthday, on the company’s official Facebook page.
“I was really surprised. Honestly, I must be really naive,” she told The Huffington Post. “I thought it was a really pretty cake, and that the buttercream was awesome. I wanted to put it on our page like I do with all of our cakes that are beautiful.” Instead, she said her bakery lost dozens of Facebook likes and prospective customers after she shared the snapshot with the caption, “Ken is looking good,” on Facebook.
She said she “didn’t think anything” of posting the image, and was shocked when people were offended.
The comments on social media were particularly brutal, too, with many interpreting the cake as a political statement on the transgender community.
“I will never call you for a cake ever, again, and I am throwing your cards to the garbage,” one customer wrote. Added another: “You can dress up a plastic doll but sorry to burst your bubble. A person’s DNA determines their sex.”
Chad Graham, who attended the birthday party where the cake was served, said he and his friends loved the cake.
“I thought it was fantastic,” Graham told Fox 40 News. The backlash that Freeport Bakery had experienced was “a little ridiculous,” he added. “It was just cake.”
Despite the comments, Goetzeler told HuffPost that the cake wasn’t necessarily intended to be seen as transgender, even though if it had been she’d be OK with it.
“I don’t ask people why they’re buying a cake. I don’t say, ‘Are you gay? Are you transgender?’ It’s not something that comes up,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of same-sex marriage cakes ― we’ve done them for years. We’ve done these Ken cakes before, but it’s the first time I posted it.”
On Aug. 22, she thanked the bakery’s supporters on Facebook, along with a heartfelt quote attributed to Audrey Hepburn.
The initial pushback, she said, won’t change how the bakery does business.
“We’re in the business of spreading joy ― that’s what we do,” she said. “We make cakes that people love, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”
Talk about a sweet sentiment.