Creative Leadership

The Benny Hinn Lawsuit

On March 15th, Benny Hinn issued a press release – “Hinn Dismisses Defamation Suit Against Self-described Media Consultant, Phil Cooke.”  After Benny dismissed the case, I was moving on.  But, since he decided to keep the story alive by issuing a press release, I felt it was appropriate to respond to those of you asking about it.  On January 12th “The World Healing Center Church, Inc.” (or Benny Hinn – according to his release), filed a lawsuit claiming that the following tweet I made (based on a reliable source) was defamatory, fraud, intentional interference with business relationships, etc.:

“‘TV EVANGELIST NEWS: Benny Hinn and Paula White are reportedly engaged.  Prayer cloths are rejoicing everywhere.’” (

OK – so I had a little fun with it.) One of the more interesting and I thought odd allegations in Hinn’s Complaint was that the twitter post “suggests serious sexual misconduct.” How does a reported engagement suggest sexual misconduct?

You might have also noticed that, on the 12th, I tweeted an apology to Benny.  That post got some pretty funny responses, like “Uhhh who is this tweeting for Phil Cooke?!?!!” So people noticed something was up.  Benny had decided to dismiss the case and had represented in writing “that he is not and never has been engaged to Ms. White.” Of course, since day one, my position was that the lawsuit was frivolous.

Other than agreeing not to sue Hinn for bringing the lawsuit to begin with, I made no concessions (no payment, no agreement to be silenced, etc.).  In fact, if Benny had just called me and said my source was mistaken, I would have happily tweeted the corrected info.  No need to sue.  🙂

There you have it…

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25 Comments

  1. I find it very interesting that Benny Hinn’s PR film also represents “1-800-Tequila” and “LifeStyles Condoms.”

  2. Phil – this is a great example of your message that social media has changed everything. Benny Hinn has a global daily traditional TV program, hundreds of thousands of donors, spent years living in Laguna Beach, and flies around the world on a Gulfstream private jet. And yet he was so intimidated by a single Twitter post that he sued.

  3. It’s rather humorous that Hinn would issue such a self serving press release to let the world know how magnanimous he had been to dismiss a frivolous and childish lawsuit he had filed against someone so insignificant that Hinn himself (via the release) describes you as merely a “self-described Christian media consultant.” How noble he must be. Good that he has a PR firm to let us all know how wonderful and important and benevolent he is, and how trivial and inconsequential a mere tweeter like you is by comparison.

  4. Uh, wait. So your Tweet was “defamatory” and he considered it “fraud.” And yet he published it in his press release once again for the world to see? Who’s idea was this? Maybe they could hire you to teach them about public relations. Sounds like they could use it…

  5. Pastor Hinn is acting like a schoolyard bully. Your casual crack didn’t do anything to him that hadn’t already been done in the national press. He brought this on himself. If he were offended he should have approached you man-to-man not threatened a lawsuit.

  6. I am not going to post anything resembling a joke for fear of litigation…In fact, I love Benny! and Paula White for that matter! I don’t love them together of course that would mean they are a couple…which they are not, as evidenced by the lawsuit…dangit; Phil you know a good lawyer?

  7. I will try to be Christ-like, but maybe not as Christ-like as Phil is. Many years ago, I was on the payroll of some of God’s anointed…

    It would be un-Christian to describe how some of God’s anointed started out kind of humble, the way King Saul started out humble…before he became God’s nightmare King. I’ve seen some evolving monster egos in action; demagogic autocrats.

    It would be un-Christian to name names, so I won’t…almost as un-Christian as one who claims to be a Christian suing another Christian in violation of scriptural instructions.

    But I’ve seen that some scriptures that apply to the “little people” don’t always apply to some of the King Saul leaders in the church world; some of whom have egos that walk in the door before they do.

    And for the record, I am not talking about Pastor Benny. For one thing, I have never been on his payroll.

  8. Bwahhhahahhaaaaa!! You knew the dismissal was coming. It would have had a little more merit if he had brought the same suit against the National Enquirer (which, for the record, suggested A LOT more “sexual misconduct” than your little Tweet). But, as they say, “When in Rome.” One must always protect his or her reputation. Part of that protection is not to be made a fool of – or make a fool of oneself. Just sayin’.

  9. Protecting his brand seems to have become more important to Mr. Hinn than living a Christ-based life.

    “Go not forth hastily to strive…” or again:

    “Moreover, if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.”

    And his response was nasty and petty (“Self-described media consultant”).

    Here is a man who clearly needs to reset his priorities, return to Christ, and spend a lot more time in his closet.

  10. Okay, most translations say “inner chamber”, but “closet” is funnier.

    “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.”

  11. This story is very amusing for sure! If that is the worst thing that has ever happened to Benny…. Gee whiz, he needs to get a real life. He has been very touchy about this subject…. could it be because he was into Paula more than she was in to him? Did I just say that out loud??!!

  12. I would like to comment but I’m already under a non-disclosure agreement with the Benny. Hmmmm….what does that tell you? He is one sue happy fella!

  13. Hey Phil,

    1st and foremost…keep Tweeting.

    2nd – Hinn has always been a bizarre figure. You couldn’t make up some of his theatrics & foibles. And Nehru suits!

    Most importantly…Thanks for being willing to say THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES.

  14. Unbelieeeveable! …well not really…why not send him a copy of “The Last TV Evangelist” as a thank you for dropping the lawsuit?

  15. Evidently Benny subscribes to the old Hollywood philosophy the only bad publicity is no publicity, or BO’s concept of leadership create a crisis and then never let a crisis go to waste..

  16. How ’bout Paula’s people? did they contact you? I have friends that work for ministries and I have as well. Many Ministry Leaders tend to just say nothing and not address things that may be said about them. It is a rare to see them come out a actually address the concerns and “speak out” against “false allegations” or tell their side of the story.

    Phil, Why do you think so many take this stance? Is it to ignore it, protect what they’ve built? Seriously, I’ll never understand why Christians dont like to talk about the big ELEPHANT in the room staring right at them and for everyone to see…

  17. Phil: My family knew Benny when he was just starting out in ministry…even before he even knew Susan…So Benny if you or your PR people are monitoring these comments – please tell Benny that he really needs to return to the ‘roots of his youth!’ …I see the Lord allowing so much to fall apart in his life in order for him to get back to the message that drove his passion for the Lord and for the Holy Spirit in the beginning! Benny just return to the ‘simplicity’ of life…of the Lord!

    And Phil – you really rock!!!

  18. Oh Phil, I can’t believe you went through that. So, again, a Christian turns on another Christian for no good reason. Most guys would be thrilled that word got out that they were engaged, no matter who the woman was! And whatever happened to the old adage, “Bad press is better than no press at all!” Oh well, we just have to keep our senses of humor. Remember, this world is not our home. We are aliens here!

  19. I think it shows mr.hinn’s true character that the first thing he did was lawyer up. Didn’t try to call you or talk it out I also think funny that he’s calling into question YOUR CREDENTIALS using terms like “self described media consultant” some would call him a “self described pastor”

  20. It’s interesting that many megachurch ministers like Benny seem to take on a bodacious level of pride where they feel they are entitled to be untouchable. They retain high priced bullies….er, attorneys… to do their bidding……in the same manner that Emperor Palpatine managed Darth Vader. REALLY?! How petty for Benny to waste good financial resources and time to go after a tweet – which is your right to post (…a little thing called “free speech”…). What you should have done Phil is post a tweet about how ridiculous he looks in his costumes or how he can’t seem to speak intelligently or cogently when he’s challenged for his lavish lifestyle. On that point, does he need a Gulfstream jet? Joel Osteen has made it a practice to fly commercial and his schedule is crazy busy……so what’s Benny’s excuse? He should be flying Southwest – this way he can be at ground level to minister to the same people that Jesus would be ministering to. Right now, he’s flying too high where the air is entirely too thin. Clearly, his actions prove that a few doses of oxygen would do his brain a world of good right about now.

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