Clayton Jennings Doxes, Attacks His Abuse Victims

I broke the Clayton Jennings’ sex abuse and spiritual abuse scandal on November 23, 2016 in the post, Celebrity Preacher, Clayton Jennings: Sex, Alcohol and the Morning After Pill. I first warned about Jennings and what I perceived to be his attempt to lure women with his lasciviousness a year prior, on September 24, 2015. After the original post in 2015, many women contacted me to say that Jennings had promised them marriage and groomed them for a long period of time before having sexual relations and then dumping them. Others claimed he asked them to come to his hotel room during a revival service for prayer, and instead had sex with them. Almost all reported that the evangelist had told them this behavior was God’s will. Before publishing the account, I sent the evidence (screenshots, phone records, and voice audio recordings) to Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio and other evidence to Michael Marcavage at Christian News Network to provide independent third-party verification of our evidence, given the nature of the story and the need to protect the victim’s identities.

I also sent information to the “Survivor Blog Gals,” including Julie Anne Smith, who specializes in spiritual abuse. Julie Anne and I rarely see eye to eye on anything, but I asked for advice on how to best provide care for the women. I made sure they had spiritual counsel and did my best to protect them pastorally. Julie Anne will verify this. It will be shocking to many that I consulted the Survivor Blog Gals, but I did my best to be responsible in how I handled this situation and to make sure others had the evidence I had.

In the end, many young women would come forward. Some told their story. One gave her name, bravely. Those who didn’t share their names were repentant and extremely sorry, except for one, whose story I did not tell. They had all personally repented of their sin, professed Christ as Savior, and were working with one kind of counselor or another to overcome their grief after having trusted someone they believed to be a “man of God.”

My reporting on Clayton Jennings was subsequently covered in other outlets who found the information credible, including The Christian Post, Charisma News, and others.

In my years at Pulpit & Pen, my journalistic reporting has been cited in the Washington Post, the UK Daily Mail, the Today Show, and virtually every major secular news outlet and Christian news outlet under the sun. I have broken leading worldwide news stories. Yesterday, I did an interview with the New York Times regarding my reporting, which they found credible enough to seek an interview for a story they’re working on. If I were wrong on the Clayton Jennings story, or factually wrong on any story, I’d have been sued by now. No one has attempted it. Truth is the ultimate defense against libel.

The evidence against Clayton Jennings was so clear that his celebrity mentor, Tony Nolan, rebuked him and handed him over, stating that he was unrepentant. Penguin Books pulled his book. Ultimately, Jennings’ own church – with his father as the pastor – revoked his license to preach.

Again, there was video evidence, audio evidence, and digital evidence of his repeated and prolific spiritual abuse in which he capitalized on his celebrity to hook up (often under false pretenses) with his followers, by convincing them it was God’s good plan.

Several years have passed, and for whatever reason, today Jennings has lashed out at me and – far more importantly – the victims of his abuse. All I am is the guy who told the story, and the women are the ones who told their story. Jennings is the most prolific serial abuser I have ever covered, and today he’s begun to dox his victims.

While Jennings has accused me of bullying a teenager to the point of suicide, regarding a five-year-old incident in which I unwisely and sinfully had a three-tweet exchange with a teenager whose father I was covering for his fraudulent life story (I asked him if he spoke Arabic at home twice, and then said because of his age I would disengage the conversation), it’s not me I’m concerned about. The teenager committed suicide a month after our brief interaction, which was tragic and grievous beyond words. But, there was no evidence (or even serious suggestion) that it was in any way related to our brief exchange a month earlier. Even though we disagree on many issues, Wade Burleson – who was instrumental in the #ChurchToo victims’ advocacy movement – made this point at the time. I have never been charged with any kind of civil or criminal liability whatsoever in the matter, but I was – and am – repentant for my actions in which my journalistic pursuit of truth overthrew my pastoral sensibilities. As is usually the case when I or Pulpit & Pen break a news story that people don’t like, the story is retold minus the pertinent facts. Oddly enough, many of the hateful comments we received today were from people under the false impression that the teenager was gay (he was not) and bullied for it. On circumstance defining points like this, facts matter.

Today, Jennings used the F-word toward me on his Instagram account, gave me two middle fingers on his Instagram account, called me a p____y after I ignored his public challenge to a fight, and continued to ask me to meet him to fight in numerous videos posted throughout the day. I would post these, but they’re readily enough available on his accounts and my editors don’t have the time to photoshop his comments and photos to make them appropriate for viewing (if he deletes it from his account, then we’ll put them up). My only response to Jennings, via text message after he messaged me with a threat some time after his tirade began, was to state that I believed he was having some kind of “episode,” to please seek counseling and to not contact me again.

The last time P&P mentioned this man was March 13, 2018, nearly a year ago. The last time I contacted him was on Thanksgiving and wished him “Happy Thanksgiving.” The only conversations I have had about him were with his victims, whom I occasionally call and check up on to see if they are okay. There has been no ongoing attention given to Jennings whatsoever, and certainly no contact with his family by myself or anyone else at P&P. All admins, contributors, and volunteers must sign a sworn statement, promising they have no anonymous or pseudonymous accounts. I suspect the “threat” is as real as Jussie Smollett’s. If, as Jennings contends, someone really threatened his family, then I’m sure there must be a police report to substantiate it.

This post is my response to the hours-long social media attacks by Jennings and his many followers. It is not on my account, but on account of those he got drunk and took advantage of, those he promised marriage to, those he slept with at evangelistic crusades after prayer-time turned sexual, and those who trusted the man who told them about Jesus one minute and pressured them into sex the next.

Jennings is now “doxing” certain of the young women who gave us the evidence against him. From what we can currently see, it is the worst case of abuse-shaming that we have ever witnessed.

They were not the evangelist. They did not claim to hear from God. They were not a prophet. They were not the ones in a position of spiritual authority. He was.

Furthermore, they were the ones who were repentant. They were the ones who cried. They were the ones who were lied to. They were the ones mislead. They were the ones who committed sin in certain cases and yet confessed it, sorrowful and broken-hearted. They were the ones who met with Clayton and his father to urge him to repent (the audio of which we made available to those responsible for revoking his preaching license).

On his Instagram and Facebook, Jennings has not only incited thousands of his fans to hurl actual and real hate speech toward myself and my organization (one lady called me a ‘faggot’), but he has threatened me with actual violence. Furthermore, he has exposed these young women who trusted their preacher. He’s done so amidst F-bombs, profanity and middle fingers.

I had initially intended no public response at all, even in spite of his actually and really libelous accusations, believing that I was dealing with someone who is profoundly ill and who was self-destructing before our eyes. But by doxing his victims, Jennings is trying to ruin the lives and careers of the women he spiritually abused and sexually took advantage of.

This truly is unbelievable, and I am asking all of you to contact Facebook and Instagram and flag his accounts for abuse. This isn’t a matter of free speech. This is a matter of a wicked man, guilty to high-heaven of spiritual abuse and ruthlessly attacking the women he bedded while claiming to be a Christian evangelist.

-JD Hall

[Editor’s Note: For a fuller summary of the Clayton Jennings saga, stories, and incidents of abuse, click here]