CNN and Good Morning America both ran pieces on the lawsuit, as did the local TV news shows.
It was a major topic on local urban-themed radio stations. On the “Frank and Wanda Morning Show” on V-103, host Frank Ski held off on discussing the lawsuits until after 8 o’clock because, he said, “we’re going to get the kids off to school” first.
Ski is a 12-year member of Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. In an interview with the AJC, Ski said his reaction is one of “extreme support.”
“It’s difficult for me because Bishop Long and I are very close,” he said. “I’m one of these people who’s really old school. When you’re a friend and I support you, I support you. Right now it’s allegations.”
Two men, ages 20 and 21, filed lawsuits in DeKalb County alleging Long coerced them into having sex in exchange for trips, cars and cash. The plaintiffs say Long began having inappropriate relations with them when they were 16. They are seeking a trial by jury and unspecified damages. Long adamantly denies the allegations.
Ski said the reaction he’s heard from fellow church members has been disbelief of the claims. But the reaction Ski’s gotten from the public at large has been far more mixed.
“It’s going to cause a lot of destruction in our community,” a caller told Ski. “I just hope it’s not true.”
Across the radio dial on Kiss 104.1, Roland Martin interviewed the plaintiff’s attorney, B.J. Bernstein, on the nationally syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show.”
Bernstein said that when she first got a phone call from one the alleged victims, “the chills went down my spine because I immediately knew the seriousness…and I knew the stature of Bishop Long in this community and across this nation. I got the boys in and spoke with them and that’s when I knew that I had no choice but to get involved. I was shaken by the seriousness of these allegations.”