'I never thought a post that literally said more love less hate would result in this kind of backlash to a very small business.'
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 2, 2022. It has since been updated.
A Texas bakery that lost orders and Facebook followers after posting a photo of a heart-shaped rainbow cookie in support of the LGBTQ community received an overwhelming show of solidarity from its local community. Confections, in Lufkin, East Texas, suffered a backlash during Pride month in June 2021, when it shared the photograph on Facebook with the caption: "More LOVE. Less hate. Happy Pride to all our LGBTQ friends! All lovers of cookies and happiness are welcome here." The message was followed by a more solemn post the next day when sisters Dawn and Miranda Cooley—who own the bakery—revealed that a customer canceled an order of five dozen cookies in protest of their inclusive message.
"Today has been hard. Really hard. We lost a significant amount of followers because of a rainbow heart cookie we posted. We received a very hateful message on our business page canceling a large order (5 dozen) of summer-themed cookies for tomorrow morning (that we just finished decorating) because of a rainbow heart cookie we posted. My heart is heavy. Honestly, I never thought a post that literally said more love less hate would result in this kind of backlash to a very small business that is struggling to stay afloat and spread a little cheer through baked goods. So, if you love our cookies we will have an overabundance of them tomorrow. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better," the post said.
Speaking to CNN about the backlash, Dawn Cooley revealed that Confections bakery had never made a Pride-inspired cookie before simply because no customer had ever thought to order one. This changed in 2021 when a patron asked them whether they would be selling rainbow cookies for LGBTQ Pride Month. The Cooleys were happy to oblige. "I was simply trying to be inclusive," said Dawn. The canceled order and negative feedback were devastating for a bakery that nearly closed several times throughout the pandemic, she revealed. "I wanted to show that we love all people. I knew some people wouldn't like it, but I didn't expect this reaction."
The sisters' post about the backlash they received quickly reached cookie lovers in Lufkin and across the United States. The following day, customers lined up down the street and around the block to buy the bakery's cookies. Within hours, Confections completely sold out the five dozen from the canceled order as well as the entire day's stock of 12 dozen cookies and its cookie and cupcake decorating kits. In the days that followed, Confections' small-but-mighty team of three had to close early several times to bake as many cookies as possible to meet demand.
"Honestly, we just made a rainbow heart cookie," Dawn said. "We do not deserve all this attention. We give gladly and perform small acts of service or kindness without expecting anything in return, be it acknowledgment or praise; we certainly don't expect hatred. We are just doing the best we can. Making our cookies." The "show of support means everything," she added, even though the bakery's detractors are just as loud. "It's so easy to just concentrate on the negative sometimes," she said. "When you see the same hurtful thing being said to you over and over again, it's easy to doubt yourself. But I know it's in my heart, and I know what my intentions are and were."