Joel Osteen's Hoaxer Comes Forward
The man behind the elaborate Joel Osteen hoax has come forward.
32-year-old Justin Tribble of Minneapolis said he was the one behind the fake headlines that proclaimed the world-famous televangelist was abandoning his faith.
The headline "Pastor of Mega Church Resigns, Rejects Christ" seemed to come right off CNN's website.
INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander asked Tribble, "Why do something like this?"
Tribble responded, "I wanted to reach him. I had a message for this man. I wanted to get a message to this guy."
Tribble, a freelance writer, created a fake webpage that looked just like Osteen's offical site. On it, he quoted Osteen as saying, "Special announcement: I am leaving the Christian faith!"
Alexander asked, "Why do you want to take down Joel Osteen? What is your point?"
"He's making a lot of money, but he's not talking about Jesus very much and he's not talking about the Bible very much," Tribble said.
The hoax forced Joel Osteen to reach out to his flock and reassure them, saying, "I still have my faith: Nothing has changed."
"You misled Joel Osteen's followers, many were very upset. Do you regret any of that?" asked Alexander.
Tribble said, "I don't, not at all. They'll be fine."