T.D. Jakes speaks onstage during New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Good Friday Service at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on April 15, 2022 in Stonecrest, Georgia. The Easter weekend event kicked off on April 15, welcoming back church goers with an in-person church worship after a 2 year hiatus because of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.


T.D. Jakes, a former spiritual advisor to Diddy, didn’t call out the artist by name but did say he felt “triggered” by footage of domestic violence on the news last week

Texas Bishop T.D. Jakes didn’t mention Sean “Diddy” Combs by name during services last weekend, but the founder of The Potter’s House told his majority Black, 30,000-member congregation in southwest Dallas that he felt “triggered” as a father when seeing the “the images that have been floating all over the news all week,” his words coming two days after CNN aired security footage showing Combs brutally attacking singer Cassie Ventura in a Los Angeles hotel hallway in 2016. “It became difficult to watch the atrocious, degrading, demeaning, debauchery,” Jakes preached this past Sunday. “I know who it was, but I saw my daughters. As a man, I saw my daughters. And it made me angry. It made me angry.”

The 66-year-old non-denominational bishop has delivered sermons for former President Obama at the White House, chatted about faith with Oprah, preached at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church and produced a faith-based movie starring Jennifer Garner. Pastor Keion Henderson, a rising star in Houston, claims Jakes as a mentor and offered him a keynote spot for his invite-only Cry Out event next month at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

While Jakes received applause from his congregants for speaking out about domestic violence, those extremely online criticized the bishop for allegedly trying to distance himself from Combs amid an onslaught of lawsuits. “Damage control,” one person commented on a clip from Jakes’ Sunday sermon posted to Instagram by The Shade Room, a TMZ-style trending news site popular among Black communities.

In recent months, Jakes has been at the center of social media gossip that has put his personal and pastoral reputations at stake. In late March, Jakes was briefly mentioned in a federal lawsuit against Combs, whose L.A. and Miami homes were raided by Homeland Security agents as part of a sex trafficking investigation. The suit, filed in a New York federal court, alleges that the hip-hop mogul had “planned to leverage his relationship” with Jakes to “soften the impact on his public image” after being sued by his former girlfriend. Cassie Ventura filed a suit against Combs last year accusing him of sexually and physically assaulting her for years. The suit settled in one day, but more women have since filed suits accusing him of rape.

The bishop has a track record of serving as spiritual advisor to Combs, at least before the lawsuits. Combs began sharing Jakes’ messages as early as 2010, per The Daily Beast. In 2022, Jakes partnered with Combs’ Revolt TV network for a series called Kingdom Culture with T.D. Jakes. That year, Combs referred to the bishop by name when the rapper received a BET Lifetime Achievement Award and they attended one another’s birthday parties.

Critics have accused Jakes of attending sex-parties hosted by Combs and having affairs with men, per reporting by the Religion News Service. Jakes’ media team has fought back against the accusations. “Recent claims circulating on pockets of social media about Bishop T.D. Jakes are unequivocally false and baseless,” Jordan A. Hora, a spokesperson for the T.D. Jakes Group, T.D. Jakes Ministries and The Potter’s House said in December.

The Jakes camp also addressed AI-generated TikTok and YouTube videos that have seemingly spread disinformation about the bishop and his ties to Combs. While AI has increased the threat of election disinformation in Texas and across the U.S., Hora last week reiterated “the proliferation of numerous deepfake photos and the distortion of words through false, sensationalized misrepresentations, encapsulating purported statements to falsely speculate and attack others” including Jakes.

The fact-checking site Snopes reported that online users in April began promoting false rumors on social media claiming that Jakes resigned from The Potter’s House. “This false rumor was simply the latest chapter in a months-old series of videos—many at least partially created with the assistance of artificial-intelligence tools—promoting unfounded rumors claiming Combs hosted ‘sex parties’ in which Jakes participated.”

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