Earlier this month, Inside Edition made waves with a report on the lavish lifestyles of Christian evangelists Jesse Duplantis and Kenneth Copeland, who, according to the report, “drive fancy cars and live inside lavish mansions” and “fly in some of the best private jets money can buy.”
Much of the report centered around the private jets owned by the pair, which can cost up to $54 million each — all paid for by church members.
The original segment featured Inside Edition Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero attempting to question Duplantis during a book signing about his need for a jet before she was quickly grabbed and pulled away by security.
“Hi, I’m from Inside Edition,” Guerrero said as she approached Duplantis. “I’d love for you to set the record straight, sir — why do you need a $54 million jet?”
“We’re not doing any kind of interviews now, I’m in a book signing,” he replied before she was accosted by security officials and whisked away.
On May 20, Inside Edition released some extended footage from the report, which shows Guerrero confronting Copeland has he was climbing into a car after appearing at an event. The exchange was truly something to behold.
Guerrero asked Copeland about past statements he made where he said that flying commercial with regular people was like “climbing into a tube with demons.”
According to Copeland, he wasn’t referring to people as demons, but if he flew commercial he “would have to stop 65%” of his ministry.
At one point in the interview, clearly flustered by Guerrero’s unexpected arrival, Copeland looked up to the heavens and said, “Thank you — Lord, help me .., let me pray just a second.”
Copeland went on to say that it “takes a lot of money to do what we do.”
“We have brought over 122 million people to the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.
“It’s a biblical thing. It’s a spiritual thing. It doesn’t have anything to do with people. I love people,” he claimed. “Jesus loves people. But 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 by her hair? 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.”
When Guerrero pressed him on the “demons” comment, his eyes narrowed into a rage.
“No, I do not, and don’t you ever say I did!” he said, putting his finger right in her face. “We wrestle not with flesh and blood but principalities and powers.”
Since his organization is tax exempt, there’s no way to know what Copeland’s financial situation is. According to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, Copeland and his wife live in a $6 million lakefront home and own at least 5 boats.
In December of 2015, Duplantis and Copeland went viral after a clip featuring the pair explaining why they need private jets as opposed to flying commercial made the rounds. In the clip, Duplantis describes a conversation he had with God while riding in his jet, to which Copeland interjected, “You couldn’t have done that on an airliner.”
“That’s why we’re on that airplane,” Copeland continued, adding that the only way they can coherently talk to God is within the sanctuary of a private jet.
Watch the Guerrero’s full interview with Copeland below, via Inside Edition:
Featured image: screen grab