I try to limit my public output to the lighthearted and encouraging. I don’t discuss politics, I don’t discuss religion.1 Those are the two things that you don’t talk about in public. At least that’s how it used to be.
So it pains me when I feel compelled to address something involving either topic. But when they converge, it makes it even more difficult. But here I am, wondering, should I write this?
I’ve decided that I should.
The Starbucks Cup
The first time that I noticed the toxic relationship between supposed Christian leaders and politics, was around 2015. Christmas was coming, and Starbucks started using a new takeout coffee cup. This coffee cup was red, and didn’t have any mention of Christmas on it at all.
Not a big deal, a private company is allowed to honor the holidays any way that it would want. Heck, they don’t have to honor any holiday, but that’s beside the point.
And in comes Joshua Feuerstein, a bloated, blowhard, gadfly “evangelist”, who took the opportunity to stir up fake outrage posting a Facebook live video with the inflammatory title of “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus."2 This was, of course, nothing more than a publicity stunt, helping him to build clout among a growing number of radical Christian nationalist sycophants.3
It’s these tactics that have proven somewhat successful for Feuerstein, who boasts a following of about 16,000 people on Facebook.4 And sadly, it’s those tactics that other alleged faith leaders have decided to emulate.
The Surfer Dude Grifter
One of those wolves in sheeps clothing is Sean Feucht, who came to national attention in the middle of the 2020 pandemic. With flowing blonde hair that would make most women jealous, wearing skinny jeans and hip t-shirts, Feucht would fit in at your local American Eagle outlet store. And Feucht, like Feuerstein, is a grifter.
Starting out as a worship leader at Bethel Church in Redding, California5, Feucht decided to focus on politics, running unsuccessfully in the 3rd Congressional District of California, getting 14% of the vote, on March 3, 2020.
Not having anything better to do, and needing to find some way to make money, he decided to take his worship crew on the road during the pandemic, before there was a vaccine, and hold multiple open air “worship” concerts.6 This was, of course, his way of “peacefully protesting”, but for all intents and purposes, it was less about protest and more about ego.
Why would I say that? Because, despite the fact that these were “free” concerts, each and every one of them were recorded. And multiple recordings were used to produce live albums, that he would turn around and sell in the following months. I’m not sure, but I think using a pandemic to make money, possibly causing the deaths or severe sicknesses of thousands, doesn’t sound much like loving your neighbor, does it?
I digress. Let me get to the real reason I am aggravated enough to decide to write this down publicly.7
Two days ago he tweets this:
I have no idea how it came across my feed, because I don’t follow him. But something about it seemed…off.
First of all, I have never heard of a book deal being cancelled due to political views. They’ve been cancelled for other reasons, sure, but never over political views.8 So I did some digging.
Usually, when a major publisher makes a deal with an author, especially one who has built a moderate following, they put out a press release to announce said deal. It builds excitement, drums up the press, gets people ready for the book when a pre-order hits, and the release day comes.
So I used Google, and searched, “Sean Feucht, Harper Collins, press release”.
Nothing. The only mention of the two in the same place is the above tweet. So…there couldn’t have been an official deal.
So I did what anyone with questions would do, I asked. I commented on his tweet, as well as his Instagram videos9, just making a simple request: Show us the contract.
Of course, he dragged his feet. He would tweet vaguely that “more information is coming”, things of that nature. Everything he said was meant to feed his persecution complex and his ego. His story didn’t add up at all.
Since I’m not a journalist, I followed the story as closely as I could, wondering what the next chapter would bring. I was invested. Honestly, I wanted to see what lie he would come up with next.
Of course, a real journalist asked the right questions - they went right to the source - Harper Collins. A spokesperson for Harper Collins said, “We did not have a signed contract.”10
Feucht shot back that he had a “Deal Memo” with the publisher, which he took to be a legally binding contract.
What the hell is a “Deal Memo”?
Back to Google.
Thanks to another Shaun, this time, Shaun Groves, I discovered that a “Deal Memo” is the foundation for the contract11 - the terms agreed upon that are then used by lawyers to draw up a legally binding document. So in short, a Deal Memo is not a contract.
That means that a Deal Memo is not legally binding at all.
So this debacle means that Sean Feucht is either stupid, or a liar.12
If he’s stupid, that means that Sean Feucht just doesn’t understand how contracts work, and he has bad lawyers who didn’t explain it to him very well. Which would be really sad, if you think about it. I’m a dumb guy writing this in gym shorts, and even I could figure out that his deal with Harper Collins wasn’t sealed just yet. So is Sean Feucht stupid?
Or, is it something more nefarious? Is Sean Feucht a liar?
If he’s a liar, that means he's using fake controversy to drum up support for whatever his next scam will be. This means that he knows that he never had a contract, but he can use the publicity to land an even bigger contract elsewhere. And what does that mean? He thinks everyone else is stupid.
I’m inclined to believe the latter.
I thought I was done…
So where does that leave us? Well, I was going to publish this today with that as the big finish, the conclusion - I think he’s lying.
But then, he couldn’t let sleeping dogs lie. He had to provide his idea of what “proof” was.
That’s what he thinks a contract is? That’s an e-mail Sean. If that’s a legally binding document, then I have about eight thousand Nigerian princes that owe me a ton of money.13
In reading this e-mail, I have come up with a few possible conclusions.
He didn’t like the offer.
Maybe they didn’t offer him what he thinks his book was worth. They’re giving him the advance that he wanted, but maybe the royalties, and the overall payment for the book was just not enough to make it worth his while. He did claim that there were other publishers clamoring for the book, so perhaps he is using this as a negotiation tactic. Or…
He wasn’t going to meet the deadline.
They wanted him to deliver this book by February. That’s next month. They wanted a 45,000 to 55, 000 word manuscript in just a little over a month from now. The e-mail was sent in early November, so that means he may not have been able to get the writing done through the holidays. Perhaps he was too busy playing martyr or something. Or….
He’s stupid and doesn’t know how publishing contracts work.
I’ve discussed this above. And there’s also, the other possible conclusion…
He thinks the rest of us are stupid.
And judging by the overwhelming supportive comments on his social media accounts, as well as getting invited on national television to discuss his “cancellation”, it seems to be working on some people.
So that’s why I write this. Don’t be fooled by this charlatan. Stop buying his albums. Stop following his social media accounts. Don’t buy this book whenever it comes out (if it does). Because, when you give into manipulation once, the manipulator will know that they can manipulate you again. And whose fault is that?
I’m not afraid to mention my faith, I’ve been a Christian for the entirety of my adult life. My faith informs who I am, but it’s not the only thing I can talk about.
I suppose it’s not all that surprising that Feuerstein was among the protestors at the January 6th rally in 2021. He may not have entered the Capitol Building, but he was definitely among the rabblerousers stirring up the nonsensical outrage that eventually got five people killed and embarrassed a good portion of the American population.
I’d link to it, but I don’t want to give him the clicks.
I’ve visited Bethel in the past, know some of the alumni from their “School of Supernatural Ministry”, and have decided to stay as far away from their theology and anyone associated with them if at all possible. There are plenty of resources out there that helped me come to this conclusion, including reading my own Bible.
The attendees at these concerts were unmasked and not socially distanced, and while I don’t have the stats in front of me, I’m pretty sure they would qualify as super spreader events.
Seriously, sitting here deciding to write this down has felt like I’m standing at a bridge with a gas can in one hand and a Zippo in the other. I may lose friends over this guy.
Unless you are literally Hitler and you’re trying to publish the sequel to Mein Kampf. Then, I can see you being cancelled. And I don’t think Sean Feucht is Hitler.
He also claimed that Instagram kept removing his videos for some reason. No they didn’t Sean.
This phrase was coined by the great Adam Carolla, and I use it all of the time. It really helps when you’re trying to think critically and objectively about something like this.
I’m actually kind of proud of this joke. It took me a few hours to come up with (like I said, I’m a dumb guy), but I think it’s brilliant.