“I guess the joke is on me,” Bellingham told NBC affiliate KING.
“If I wanted to make a political statement, I’d put it on a sign and march up and down the street,” he told the news station. “But I put it on a cookie for heaven’s sake.”
He could not immediately be reached by The Washington Post.
The pink-frosted, heart-shaped cookie drew backlash last week online, with many calling it “racist” and arguing it has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. Others threatened to boycott the store.
“If you want a bigoted, racist bakery, you’ve found it!” one reviewer wrote on the business’s Yelp page. “They probably don’t bake cakes for gay weddings either.”
“Yikes, Edmonds Bakery … not a good look on you,” another person said. “I can’t imagine anyone thought this through as being a good idea in a business sense.”
Another person said it was no laughing matter, writing in a review: “Build that wall cookies? No thank you! Won’t step foot inside this bakery. You said it was meant to be a joke. Would you have posted racist slurs and passed that off as ‘a joke’?”
Others stood behind the business.
“Really solid local bakery,” one wrote. “The racial reviews are nonsense. Bunch of hysteria not based in anything factual.”
Bellingham told KING that over the years, he has tried to be creative with his Valentine’s Day cookies.
“Some are a little risque; some are nice. I just try to be funny,” he said. But, he added, this time the joke backfired.
The trouble started when he wrote “Build that Wall” on a cookie, and a customer posted a photo of it among other cookies that read “Believe,” “Addicted to Love” and “Cool Beans.”
“I did it as a joke, but it was really taken out of context,” he told the news station, adding that a wall is “not anything that I endorse. I don’t think building a wall is going to solve our problems.”
It is not the first time a bakery has become embroiled in political and social issues. Perhaps the most notable case involved Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., which refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012 and was sued for discrimination — a case that was taken all the way to the Supreme Court.
Several years later, the Colorado bakery declined to fill a custom cake order for a transgender woman on religious grounds, leading to further legal actions.