Bishop Eddie Long has released a statement denying rumors of his wife, Vanessa Long’s departure from his home and New Birth.
“Recently, some blog entries have surfaced claiming to have anonymous sources stating that New Birth First Lady Elder Vanessa Long has moved out of the house. That claim is completely and absolutely false,” said church spokesman Art Franklin in a statement Tuesday on behalf of New Birth. “Mrs. Long is very much a loving, dedicated and committed wife and mother.”
The rumors surrounding Mrs. Long’s departure recently escalated in the weeks following Eddie Long’s announcement that his sexual misconduct case was settled out of court. Four young men filed lawsuits last fall accusing the Atlanta megachurch pastor of coercing them into sexual relationships. In May, both parties reached a settlement and the lawsuits were dismissed in court.
“It is unfortunate that anyone would make such hateful and damaging false claims of this nature,” said Franklin in the New Birth statement, which doesn’t mention the names of any blogs. “These cruel and insensitive rumors have the potential to cause immeasurable pain and suffering. Those involved should feel obligated to retract their earlier statements.”
In the statement, the church said it initially chose not to respond to the rumors about Vanessa Long but it felt compelled to following the multiple blog entries.
“However, in this new digital world, along with a steep decline in quality reporting, many people can’t discern the difference between legitimate journalists and irresponsible bloggers,” read the New Birth statement.