Whitehead addressed the lawsuit in an Instagram video on Thursday (July 28), saying, “Let me tell you: stop believing everything y’all see, man. Y’all are really, like, believing these tabloids, man. Let me tell y’all something, man. Let the courts deal with it, man. Stop believing the hype, alright? Stop believing it, y’all. Alright?”
“There’s people out here that do not like the bishop, and they want to change who I am in y’all’s sight,” Whitehead went on to say. “Listen, stop believing the hype. Stop believing the hype. C’mon, man, y’all smarter than that.”
“When you reach a certain level, everybody wants to try and be special. That’s all I gotta say. Stop believing the hype,” Whitehead reiterated later in the video. “I ain’t take nothing from nobody. Stop believing the hype. C’mon, y’all, y’all smarter than that.”
In the same video, Whitehead announced he would be holding a press conference on Friday to offer his plan for protecting clergy and churches from violent crimes that could be perpetrated against them during worship gatherings.
At the press conference, Whitehead told reporters, “The media, for some reason, you portray black men as criminals. My church can’t get no sympathy, no empathy.”
Whitehead went on to defend his expensive clothing, home, and car, touting his generosity in the community. Suggesting that the criticism he has received for his lavish lifestyle is racially motivated, Whitehead said, “I don’t see y’all talking about Joel Osteen.”
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Whitehead then argued that worshippers in New York City should be able to carry firearms during church services to protect themselves, even if they have a criminal record. “It should be exempt,” he said.
Whitehead previously served five years in prison for identity theft and grand larceny. He was released in 2013 and ordained as a minister in 2016.
After delivering his prepared remarks, Whitehead opened the floor for questions. Reporters were quick to ask him about the lawsuit against him.
“We gained a victory today. Y’all do your own research. But I can’t get into the legality of this fictitious claim against me,” Whitehead said, going on to tell reporters that they were looking at a “true man of God.”
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It is unclear what victory Whitehead was referring to, and he declined to elaborate.