In their March 2013 “The Real-Life Scandal Issue,” EBONY magazine published a feature entitled “Simply Scandalous,” in which they listed and briefly discussed a host of “real-life” scandals and scandal-esque rumors that rocked the entertainment world. Among those tidbits printed by the publication included one that involved Maryland’s Empowerment Temple pastor, Reverend Jamal Bryant. The excerpt on Bryant reads:
WTH: Bryant, a charismatic, flashy pastor and founder of the Empowerment Temple AME Church with 10,000 members in Baltimore, was accused of extramarital affairs, including one rumor that he impregnated a 17-year-old church member. His wife, Gizelle, filed for divorce in 2008 after more than five years of marriage.
The Outcome: Bryant’s popularity and ministry have not wavered at Empowerment Temple.”
Bryant, clearly unhappy with the publication’s decision to write about his alleged involvement with the teen expressed his disappointment in an issued letter entitled, “Pastor Jamal Bryant Rebukes EBONY,” reports The Christian Post. The letter reads:
“For 67 years Ebony Magazine has been the drum beat for culture in the African American community. John Johnson its beloved founder dedicated his life to safe guarding our image with great integrity.
The March 2013 edition has left a hole in my heart. On page 124 they published that it’s alleged I impregnated a 17-year-old member of my church. This accusation is categorically and completely untrue. To publish this with absolutely no source lends itself to reckless endangerment to my children, my congregation and my community.
Ebony is not the National Enquirer. A higher standard is required and the statement jeopardizes my ministry to the youth in my church and community. So it is on moral grounds that a retraction is necessary.
In 2007 I participated in an extramarital affair that resulted ultimately in the termination of my marriage to my incredible wife Gizelle. NO minors were involved but my minor children have been affected. I don’t want them to have to live through any further unnecessary pain.
Matthew 18:15 say’s if your brother has sinned against you go and tell him his fault. I solicit your continued prayers for my family, forgiveness for myself and accountability from Ebony magazine.
Flawed but faithful. I remain,
Jamal- Harrison Bryant
(A Father and Pastor)”
Within 24 hours of the Pastor’s public chastisement of EBONY, the iconic publication issued a public apology.
“Our ‘Scandals’ package in the March 2013 issue is meant to be a look at some of the more outrageous accusations and events in African-American culture. With this particular story, we examined actual incidents as well as reported rumors which have captured the attention of our community throughout the years. In some cases, the allegations were never verified; however, the very fact that they went public constituted scandal. We understand that Dr. Jamal H. Bryant is now getting inquiries regarding a rumor we referenced in the magazine. We published the outrageous allegation as it was scandalous, not because it was confirmed. We did not intend to offend Dr. Bryant, and hope that our readers understand the spirit in which the editorial comment was presented.”
Bryant, who has openly confessed to participating in an extramarital affair in the past, is placing pressure on EBONY to retract their statement regarding his rumored involvement with a minor on “moral grounds.”
Should the magazine retract their statement? Did they owe Pastor Bryant an apology at all?