About a month ago, Inside Edition investigated a couple of prominent televangelists — or at least exposed their greed and luxurious lifestyles to viewers who may not be familiar with them.
The short segment revolved around Jesse Duplantis and Kenneth Copeland, two men who live in mansions, purchase private jets (plural), and really don’t want people digging into their wealth.
At the time, the most memorable part of the segment was when Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero caught up with Copeland and directly asked him about a comment he made in 2015 about needing a private jet because the alternative was flying like everyone else in a “long tube with a bunch of demons.”
“No I do not and don’t you ever say I did,” Copeland responded. Copeland said the jet is important to his ministry. “If I flew commercial, I’d have to stop 65% of what I’m doing.”
“How much did you pay for Tyler Perry’s Gulfsteam jet for example?” Guerrero countered.
“Well, for example, that’s really not of your business,” he replied.
“Isn’t it the business of your donors?” she asked.
“Listen, he made that airplane so cheap for me, I couldn’t help but buy it,” Copeland said.
In the segment that appeared on television, that (obviously edited) conversation lasted 30 seconds.
Here’s what’s amazing: The 30 seconds they aired were obviously great television, but the full segment is eye-popping for completely different reasons.
Here are some of the comments that didn’t air before:
COPELAND: It takes a lot of money to do what we do. We have brought over — the latest figures just came out — 122 million people to the Lord Jesus Christ. [Note: Citation needed.]
COPELAND (to Guerrero): I love your eyes.
GUERRERO: Do you ever use your private jets to go visit your vacation homes, for example?
COPELAND: Yes I do.
COPELAND (explaining the “demons” comment): People get pushed in alcohol. Do you think that’s a good place for a preacher to be and prepare to go preach to a lot of people? When somebody in there is dragging some woman down an aisle, it made me so mad to see that on television, I wanted to punch the guy out myself! I can’t be doing that while I’m getting ready to preach!
COPELAND: I am a very wealthy man.
COPELAND: My wealth doesn’t come from offerings alone.
GUERRERO: Because you sell things — books and DVDs.
COPELAND: Yes, and I have a lot of natural gas on our property… Didn’t know that, did you, baby?
GUERRERO: Now I do!
COPELAND: Yeah you do! Ain’t that wonderful?
GUERRERO: It’s wonderful for you…
COPELAND: If you go into the Old Covenant, do you think the Jewish people believe you should be broke?
GUERRERO: Are you saying that Jewish people appreciate money more than…?
COPELAND: They believe in wealth.
The entire interview was damning, not just the clips they showed! The show focused on the bits where he gave the most expressive facial reactions, but the things he said calmly were no less awful. (And, oh god, the parts where he comments on her looks are just cringe-worthy…)
The sad thing is that the people who need to see this the most — the people who give men like Copeland money in the hopes of pleasing God — will either never see it or find a way to dismiss it because it’s an ambush interview. It had to be, though. Copeland would never voluntarily explain himself to a stranger. Kudos to Guerrero for getting any answers out of him.