It’s very rare (in fact I’d say I’ve never done it) for me as a publicist to go after a “news” publication for defamatory statements about a client. However, over the last several months I’ve grown tired at a so-called “discernment blog” masking hate behind a veil of my Jesus and I feel its time they are held to some level of accountability.
On November 3, 2017, I received an alert from our media monitoring service that a story about one of our clients did not line up with some facts we knew to be true. As such, the story was flagged in the system (usually a note for me to check the article for accuracy). Upon personally reviewing the article I found very inaccurate and damaging anecdotes being presented as fact. Suggesting my client’s marriage dissolved as a result of an affair, comments that he made publicly that there is no evidence of, etc. I advised my client on the story, and we both decided we would ask the outlet to change some of the verbiage in the article to reflect a more truthful story NOT remove the article entirely.
I pride myself on having a relatively good relationship with several discernment blogs because after all they have a right to report facts and it’s my job to find a way to combat those and make sure facts are accurate. In fact, that’s why people hire me, for my connections. Most of the time these websites make it very difficult to contact them to protest stories (why would you open yourself to be corrected), but we’ve been doing this a while and have our ways of digging out that information. After some research, I was able to locate the Facebook page of the website’s owner, Jordan Hall and privately reached out to him via Facebook Messenger. While my first message was professional and polite, Jordan immediately and without provocation took things to another level. Jordan would later publish our conversation on his website, so I don’t mind sharing them with you here.
Now I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I know when I’ve hit a wall with someone and it’s better to let my attorney step in. That doesn’t mean anyone is suing anyone, simply better to have my legal representative handle anyone hostile. Which I’m assuming is the line he ran with to insinuate that my client was going to sue him and his website. A bit far-fetched if you ask me. Now let me be clear, there’s a stipulation that PR people are here to silence journalists on negative stories that they may publish about our clients, that’s not true. The art of journalism and public relations is a game for me. It’s all about who can get the upper hand first, and it’s never personal. If you have the facts, trustworthy sources, and your editors approve a story that may make my client look like the worst person imaginable, then it’s my job to figure out how to go forward from there NOT to silence the story. It’s when outlets publish flat out lies and defamatory statements that things have to be taken to another level. That’s where Jordan and his team at Pulpit and Pen took it.
It was at that point I had my attorney issue a cease and dissent letter to Pulpit and Pen to take down the article about my client. Several hours after the letter was sent we noticed the article had been taken down. While Pulpit and Pen never responded to the letter we reasonably assumed they complied. In an effort to not appear like a total jerk to the editors of other websites that had republished the same article from Pulpit and Pen, I personally reached out to them individually informing them that Pulpit and Pen had taken down their article per our attorney’s request and that they might want to consider doing the same before my legal team sent them letters as well (I didn’t want my first interaction with some of these websites to be from my attorney).
Several days later Pulpit and Pen ran a story solely about me titled: “Fifthly Hollywood PR Threatens P&P with Legal Action.” The article not only attacked my career but my personal character. Using my social media to provide examples of my “depravity” and using those I communicate with as to somehow insinuate that I have some weakened moral compass. Pulpit and Pen also solicited for any “tips” about me to build a war chest of ammunition to attack me. Sadly, those that actually know me have been offered money (to which I’m sure Pulpit and Pen wouldn’t have offered) to provide any information they can about me from more reliable media outlets (gossip magazines). They have been well trained not to talk. That did not stop some people from reaching out, and I later found out that Pulpit and Pen attempted to contact my church elder board to have me removed from leadership there. Why you may ask? I have no idea. I’m still trying to figure out why I’m such a threat to this entire situation. Below is just one of many screenshots from Pulpit and Pen’s Facebook page where several of Pulpit and Pen’s followers share their disappointment in their coverage of me (I don’t blame them).
Shortly after reaching out to the other websites informing them that Pulpit and Pen removed the article I received word that Pulpit and Pen was accusing me of somehow hacking their website and deleting the article myself. Now let’s take our tinfoil hats off for a second and think about this. First off if I went to the trouble of hacking the website, I would have shut the whole thing down not just the one story. Furthermore, I actually had no qualms with the article Pulpit and Pen wrote about me. It was reasonably accurate and made me out to be a lot more powerful than I really am. It actually drove traffic to my website and even retained a new client for me so thanks, Pulpit and Pen! What I found interesting was a few days before this accusation was made I noticed a comment on Pulpit and Pen’s Facebook page asking them if they had been hacked (see below) … Mhmm … Interesting. In case there’s any confusion, no I did not hack Pulpit and Pen and the fact that they say they are moving their servers “offshores” is comical. You can’t write stuff about people that are flat out not true. You can’t hide from that even in the backwoods of Montana.
So why did I choose to speak up now? I’m not entirely sure. Call it a New Year’s resolution or finally realizing that someone needs to say something, but I do know this. Discernment is not a one-way street. Do I agree that some of the people and ministries covered on Pulpit and Pen are dangerous? In fact, I do. Do I also think this website and Jordan Hall are very unhealthily and divisive and remind me a lot of David Koresh? More than you know! (they have a private Facebook group called “the bunker” that all of their writers are required to join and contribute to for example).
What kills me the most, what really gets me upset is the fact that had Pulpit and Pen published TRUTH which they claim to be all about we wouldn’t be here. Had Pulpit and Pen just agreed to a productive conversation about the mistakes they had made in their article they could have written the most scathing article about my client. Instead, they choose to pick a fight with a fellow believer, causing more separation, and more space for the enemy to move. As for me, I’m not phased. I’m incredibly lucky to have friends who stood up and fought for my character when this article was published. At this point, I can’t lose. If Pulpit and Pen choose to respond, that’s more press coverage for me, the more my SEO climbs on Google. If they decide to say nothing, I get my privacy back. No matter what, we are continually keeping an eye on Pulpit and Pen and would be happy to provide PR and legal assistance to any pastor or ministry who is unfairly attacked by them.