Jerry Falwell Jr. says it's bad enough he was the victim of an extortion plot over a phony sex scandal, but then the university his own father founded gave him the boot over the matter ... according to a new lawsuit.
Falwell Jr. filed legal docs accusing Liberty University -- founded by his father in 1971 -- of forcing his resignation in the wake of a former acquaintance, Giancarlo Granda, alleging he had sex with Falwell's wife as Falwell watched.
In the suit, Falwell says he and his family became the targets of a malicious smear campaign incited by anti-evangelical forces ... after Liberty University used the allegations as an excuse to force him to step down.
Falwell even claims these were efforts by political operatives pissed about his support of President Trump.
Granda told Reuters back in August the affair with Falwell's wife started in 2012 and lasted until 2018. In docs, Falwell admits Granda had an affair with his wife that ended in 2014, but denies watching them for pleasure. He also claims Granda demanded enormous cash payments from the Falwells to stay silent. Falwell says he refused to pay, and that's when he claims Granda went to the media.
Falwell claims Liberty University accepted the salacious and baseless accusations against him and his wife at face value and then a day later forced his resignation as president after 13 years at the helm. He insists the school didn't conduct an investigation.
Falwell adds the school gave credence to Granda's allegations by announcing Falwell had engaged in "disobedient" behavior "in secret" that was "shameful" and a "sin." He's suing the school for defamation and breach of contract.
"Every night I go to sleep I'm like, 'Lord, please, let me like wake up in the morning feeling good.'"
That's Saints star Emmanuel Sanders admitting he's scared to death of his COVID-19 diagnosis ... saying he's extremely worried his condition could deteriorate at any moment.
"Like, I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night and like, can’t breathe," Sanders said on the "17 Weeks" podcast this week. "And like, sh*t just goes south, right?"
"That’s like my biggest fear in watching that sh*t, it intensifies my fears, right?"
Sanders tested positive for coronavirus last Thursday ... and says he's been experiencing some pretty bad symptoms ever since, including fever, body aches and "loopy feelings."
The 33-year-old says his wife also came down with the illness ... explaining she, too, is feeling the effects.
"Like, it feels like we’re glitchy," the NFL receiver said. "Like when I’m walking it feels like if my wife was to talk to me, it feels like I’m skipping a beat every now and then."
"It's like the weirdest sh*t ever."
The Saints placed Sanders on the reserve/COVID-19 list and he missed last week's win over the Panthers. He's already been ruled out of this week's game against the Bears.
"It's a situation that sucks, you know?" Sanders said. "I'm missing two games, but it is what it is."
1:39 PM PT -- Looks like Trump went into his own pocket for a donationa to ICLV Sunday, whipping out a few 20-dollar bills ... and counting them up a couple times over.
He eventually dropped it in the collection bucket that was going around.
President Trump became part of the church-going crowd this weekend -- and his presence moved a pastor to predict he'd get a 2nd win ... and Trump returned the favor by telling the pastors they were rough around the edges.
DT attended a service Sunday at the International Church of Las Vegas ... with Pastors Paul and Denise Goulet officiated. It was quite the sight -- Trump stood there awkwardly with his palms out, flanked by Hope Hicks and Kayleigh McEnany ... nobody wearing masks.
Right up Donald's alley, no doubt, but it's what Pastor Denise ranted and raved about that actually stole the show ... she says she got a sign from God at 4:30 this morning ... that Trump's getting another 4 years, but she had a funny and confusing way of explaining it.
First, she said his "second win" would come in the form of a victory at the polls; next, she said he'd get another "second win" with a fresh shot of energy ... like a runner near the finish line and who's out of breath, but still manages to power through to the end.
Finally, Pastor Denise said he'd get a second "wind," which she likened to the Holy Spirit. We believe she has a few of those "second win(d)s" mixed up, but whatever ... Trump was loving it all the same. Ironically, Trump has proven of late that he can, indeed, get pretty winded.
Anyway, the couple eventually invited to him to the stage to bless him -- which was just as awkward as their sermon from afar -- and eventually handed him the mic to share some words, and that's when he told the pastoral duo they were rough around the edges.
Originally Published -- 11:22 AM PT
Someone called the cops on Jesus ... because he was depicted as a homeless man sleeping on an Ohio park bench.
A statue called "Homeless Jesus" is being hosted by the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church near Cleveland to raise awareness of homelessness in the city, and apparently it worked ... because someone reported it right away.
Alex Martin, a priest at the church, says within 20 minutes of the statue being delivered earlier this week, he had to talk with a police officer ... because someone thought it was a real person.
The church says the response to the statue -- which is intended to inspire citizens to take action and help tackle the homelessness crisis -- "speaks to its power."
St. Barnabas adds ... "The caller surely contacted the police out of genuine concern and the responding officer was excellent: he was extremely professional and eager to learn more about the sculpture and its intended message."
Just a heads up to any "Karens" in the Cleveland area -- the statue will be at the Ohio church until December.
President Trump is giving it up to Jesus Christ ... acknowledging the Christian messiah is more famous than he is. Wow, quite a concession!
The President's campaigning in Greenville, North Carolina, and while addressing supporters he brought up the topic of his fame and where he ranks. He claimed someone told him he's the most famous person in the world "by far."
Trump -- ever the humble servant -- says he insisted he's not ... because that title belongs to J.C. The pandering worked, as the crowd ate up Trump's remark and POTUS reveled in it.
His Christian anecdote is reminiscent of John Lennon saying, in 1966, the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." It was intended as a shot at the obsession fans and the media had with the group, but religious groups blasted him for it.
Trump didn't wanna go down that road, and quipped he can't argue with Christ being #1 because he's "not gonna take any chances."
Trump's claimed many times to be a devout Christian and that his favorite book of all time is the Bible ... so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he holds Jesus in such high regard.
Of course, if someone were to ask the President what his favorite story about Jesus is -- or even which testament of the Bible is his fave -- there's a good chance he'd punt on the question.
Not that it matters.
A Holocaust survivor speaking with Sacha Baron Cohen for his new 'Borat' movie was callously duped, because she thought he was making a legit documentary ... so claims her estate in a new lawsuit.
The estate of Judith Dim Evans -- who, according to the legal docs, is a "well-known speaker and expert regarding the Holocaust" -- is going after the makers of the upcoming 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' for allegedly tricking her into doing an interview around the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020.
According to the suit ... Evans was contacted by producers under false pretenses and believed she was participating in a documentary about the Holocaust and Jewish culture.
Her estate says she traveled to Atlanta with a friend to be interviewed by Cohen and was never informed the movie was a comedy -- a 'Borat' sequel -- and when she found out she was "horrified and upset."
Evans' estate alleges she never would have agreed to the interview if she knew the true nature of the film was to mock the Holocaust and Jewish culture, and she never consented for her name and likeness to be in such a movie.
The estate also claims the producers offered to pay Evans and her friend for their participation, but she turned them down flat.
Evans died this past summer, so her daughter -- the executrix of her estate -- filed the suit against Amazon and Oak Springs Productions ... seeking to have her mother's clips yanked from the final cut of the movie and other damages.
The 'Borat' sequel is set to release on Amazon Prime next week. Though Cohen is not named as a defendant in this suit, he's no stranger to being sued over his projects ... he's still in a legal battle with Roy Moore.
Kanye West appears to have one final trick up his sleeve in the last-minute blitz of his presidential campaign ... let go, and let God.
Ye just filed legal docs to lock up the rights to "God Save America" -- which he wants to slap on shirts, sweaters and hoodies in what seems to be a final-ditch effort to push his message that was front-and-center in his 1st campaign ad ... bringing faith back to politics.
Unclear if this is a campaign slogan -- like Barack Obama's famous HOPE or Trump's Make America Great Again -- but it sure reads like one. The phrase also feels like a play on "God Bless America" ... both patriotic, but kinda sanctimonious too with "Save" swapped in.
Kanye filed for the trademark last week, which lines up closely with the release of his debut campaign ad ... something that just hit the ether Monday, 3 weeks before voters hit the polls on Nov. 3. Some people feel this ad -- and maybe now this new catchphrase he wants to lock up -- is too little, too late. That, or maybe just in time ... depends on who you ask.
Anyway, if Ye gets approval on this ... get ready to see some new merch -- probably priced at a high selling point 😅.
The Archbishop of New Orleans is outraged that a priest allegedly had sex inside a church, so he's doing an exorcism of sorts by having the altar removed and burned!!!
Archbishop Gregory Aymond called the act "demonic." As for how it went down ... someone called the cops after allegedly seeing the priest at the Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, saying they saw the man of the cloth with 2 high-heeled women wearing corsets. He was dressed in his priestly issue ... well, only partially. The witness shot video of the encounter and went to cops.
The priest and the 2 women were arrested for allegedly violating an obscenity law that prohibits people from having sex in public view. What's bizarre here ... the only way the witness could have seen it was to peer through the windows.
As for burning the altar ... the Archbishop said it was the only way to restore the sanctity of the church, adding, "I am infuriated by his [the priest's] actions. When the details became clear, we had the altar removed and burned. I will consecrate a new alter tomorrow."
Justin Bieber and Chance the Rapper certainly put their money where their mouths are ... and the loot's going a long way to help hundreds of people from all walks of life who are in desperate straits.
As we reported ... Justin and Chance announced a surprise collab Thursday -- teaming up to dole out $250,000 on CashApp to people affected by these hard times, to say thanks for the support on their musical collab, "Holy."
Thousands of fans shared their stories online -- along with their $cashtags -- with the hope of receiving some money, and the singer and rapper spent the day giving ... in $500 increments.
We did some digging, and the winners include students, teachers, artists, cashiers, people who lost loved ones to COVID, people taking care of sick parents, people dealing with immigration issues, and in general ... people who help people, people who need help, or both.
Hoping to be noticed @justinbieber @chancetherapper! Please help this teacher get items needed for school & buy some furniture! We are moving into a new place after an apartment fire back in May.. during the pandemic! (Not our fault)🔥 🤦♀️ $itscortknee #JBChanceHoly pic.twitter.com/guj9btYcgi— Mrs. Richardson (@CortneyRichar15) September 25, 2020 @CortneyRichar15
For example ... Cortney -- a teacher looking to buys supplies for her class after suffering damage in an apartment fire earlier this year, during the pandemic.
Megan -- a young woman whose father's dying from kidney failure and is trying to pay for him to have his eyesight improved during his final days.
As a minimum wage cashier, I’m just trying to survive from paycheck to paycheck all while trying to help my parents out as well. My dad doesn’t get as many hours at work due to COVID and mom is unable to work because of her health. $Tiffy62689 #JBChanceHoly pic.twitter.com/tFpzSnOKBq— Tiffany (@kygurl62689) September 24, 2020 @kygurl62689
Tiffany -- a cashier who lives paycheck to paycheck while also supporting her parents, who are out of work due to COVID and health reasons.
Ty -- a young handyman who hustles on the side as a freelance photog, but is still struggling to pay rent and the bills. Ty tells us he's going to use $400 of what Justin sent him for living expenses. He'll use the remaining $100 to give back to the homeless.
And finally, there's Sakinah, a young woman who does nails ... asked the fellas to support her business. She struck gold, because she received $500 from BOTH the Biebs and the Rapper.
All in all -- assuming most recipients got $500 -- the "Holy" giveaway brightened the days of around 500 people.
President Trump's trying to keep voters' eyes off the prize of racial equality -- at least that's how NAACP leader Bishop Talbert Swan is viewing Trump's latest defunding threat.
The President of the NAACP's Springfield, Massachusetts chapter, joined us Tuesday on "TMZ Live," and ripped POTUS for threatening to pull federal funds from Seattle, Portland and NYC ... cities he's now labeled "anarchist jurisdictions."
Swan pointed out the term "anarchist jurisdiction" has never existed in America, and believes the Trump administration made it up to rationalize his threat to cut federal funding to those cities. That threat is already facing legal challenges, but the Bishop told us it's also creating a distraction ahead of the election -- and he thinks that's exactly what the President wants.
He's imploring Americans to not lose sight of the mounting issues that truly matter -- racial inequality, coronavirus, the economy and the possibility of a Supreme Court he believes will "attack every Civil Rights gain made in the last 100 years."
Justin Bieber had the surprise of a lifetime for a bunch of beliebers dancing to his new hit song ... sneaking up on them before making the big reveal.
Justin made jaws drop Friday afternoon outside a fire station in West Hollywood, where this group of youngsters was working on a dance routine to "Holy," Justin's new collab with Chance The Rapper.
We're told Justin caught wind the local youth gospel group was gonna be rehearsing a performance based on his track ... so he headed over to the firehouse to surprise them and show support.
It's pretty cool ... you can see Justin emerge from inside the fire station as the boys and girls dance and sing with their backs to him, then he posts up on the side and watches for a while behind his face mask.
Justin finally revealed himself, taking off his mask and saying a few words ... and ya gotta see everyone's reaction.
The Biebs and the kids gathered around for a cool photo too. About as good a Friday as these young fans can get!
Here's a shocker for 54 percent of the country ... President Trump opened a Bible (that's not the shocker), signed his name in it, and now the good book could now be worth nearly $40k. There it is.
Yes, as Trump would almost certainly put it, you can now buy your "favorite President's" favorite book ... which our sources tell us he autographed during a very turbulent week in the nation, and particularly in Washington, D.C.
We're told he signed it at the White House during the first week of June, just a couple of days after he'd ordered federal law enforcement to fire pepper spray and rubber bullets at peaceful George Floyd protesters ... just to clear a path for him to St. John's Episcopal Church.
You'll recall he posed there for a now-infamous photo op with a Bible ... although that's not the one he signed.
The autographed Bible is going up for sale through the memorabilia company, Moments In Time -- and they're hawking this slice of Trump history for a cool $37,500.
Just the way God intended.
We kid, but Trump's critics might be expecting a lightning strike, because although he's often declared the Bible is his favorite book -- he's declined to name a favorite chapter or verse ... or even weigh in on the Old vs. New Testament debate.
Presidents have a long history of signing Bibles, but the practice has historically been done when presenting it as a gift with a spiritual message written inside.
Then again, Trump is far from your typical Prez.
Kanye West held what could be his most ambitious Sunday Service yet, when the whole gang walked on water during the event.
As for notable guests ... Kim Kardashian showed up. Hard to read the tea leaves, but it seems relevant, because of his self-described marital issues. But, there she was ... flying to Atlanta for the service.
Pastor Joel Osteen delivered the sermon and spoke about Jesus walking on water and how he gave Peter permission to follow suit. They all took it to heart, because after the sermon Ye, Joel and the choir all walked on H20, although not exactly.
The service was held on a lake near Pinewood Studios in ATL.
FYI ... looks like they all played it safe with social distancing.
Kodak Black is praying for more than just his release from prison ... because he says he can't get access to a rabbi to practice his Jewish faith behind bars.
Kodak's attorney, Bradford Cohen, tells TMZ he's ramping up to file a lawsuit if his client doesn't get what he says he's been requesting for months ... a consultation with his own personal rabbi -- or any rabbi, really, at this point.
Of course, the other headline here is ... Kodak Black's Jewish??? We're with ya, and Cohen explained the rapper identifies with the faith -- even though he has yet to convert. He claims the feds have gone radio silent on his efforts to connect with his go-to rabbi.
If nothing changes, Cohen says they'll be suing for a violation of Kodak's First Amendment right to practice his religion.
He admits the chaplain at Kodak's facility in KY recently emailed to say face-to-face spiritual meetups were being temporarily axed due to COVID. However, Cohen says the chaplain also told him phone calls with the rabbi shouldn't be an issue.
Oh, and if you're wondering why Kodak's so adamant about getting access to any rabbi and a Torah, we're told he thinks it will help his mental state. Kodak believes God has a plan for him, and wants to talk it out with a pro.
The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment on Kodak's specific sitch, but assured us it goes to great lengths to accommodate inmates' religious needs.
Kanye West spared no expense putting on his Sunday Service ... he claims it cost a whopping $50 MILLION to pull it off!!!
Kanye says he burned through a ton of cash on his Sunday Service in 2019 ... with the $50 million being spread around for choir uniforms, flights, operas and all the other operating expenses that went with it.
At first glance, that number sounds way overblown.
However, remember ... Sunday Service traveled around the country last year, with stops at Coachella, Skid Row in Los Angeles, Houston, Howard University in D.C., the family home in Calabasas, his ranch in Wyoming, The Forum in Inglewood, Louisiana, Chicago, Ohio, Joel Olsteen's Lakewood Church and even Jamaica.
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There were construction costs too ... for the Sunday Service on Easter at Coachella, bulldozers moved tons of earth to make a huge hill for the performance.
Ye says the cash was taken out of funds set aside for marketing his Yeezy shoes ... Kanye says he didn't need to spend all the marketing dough on the kicks -- Yeezy's sell themselves, he says -- so instead he used it to put on Sunday Service.
$50 million ... that's a lot of holy bread.
Check out this video of an older guy reading aloud from the Bible on a sidewalk, not too far from a masked young woman also reading from her phone, rattling off lyrics to "WAP." Try as he did, the gent got drowned out by the tune ... then again, the camera's further from him.
It's a funny scene though -- and a testament that blindly preaching to kids these days isn't a good way to reach 'em. Maybe reciting lyrics to Justin Bieber's "Baby" would've been more effective.
Speaking of, if you're wondering what sparked this ... it was a pro-choice rally that clashed with anti-abortion demonstrators, which seems to have gone on for at least 2 days. Both groups had signs touting their beliefs and were keeping a somewhat respectful distance away from each other. But, one secret weapon the young crowd had with them that the holy group didn't ... condoms!
That and catchier lines in general. Step it up, pro-lifers ... we need to hear some new material!