Ravi Zacharias Accuser Asks for Release from Non-Disclosure Agreement
A woman Ravi Zacharias sued in 2017 is now asking for release from a non-disclosure agreement she signed as part of the settlement of that lawsuit.
Lori Anne Thompson claimed Ravi Zacharias solicited nude photos of her after they met in 2014. Zacharias denied the claims and filed a lawsuit saying Thompson and her husband Bradley were attempting to extort funds from him. The lawsuit was eventually settled, and Lori Anne Thompson signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of the settlement.
With the death of Zacharias, she is asking to be released from the NDA. Thompson posted a video on-line this week, saying in part:
“Under excruciating circumstances, I signed a non-disclosure agreement that does not permit me to defend myself. I am taking this moment to ask the “heirs” of that NDA for a full release from its terms and agreements — as my husband and I now have nothing that we do not wish disclosed.”
Thompson has posted a transcript of the video on her blog. The Zacharias family has not responded to Thompson’s request.
Ravi Zacharias dropped the lawsuit on Nov. 13, 2017. However, because of news coverage, Zacharias released a statement on Dec. 3, 2017. Both Thompson and Steve Baughman, an attorney who runs the website www.raviwatch.com, assert that statement violated the terms of the non-disclosure agreement. They say this gives Thompson – at a minimum – the right to respond to the assertions of that statement.
In a statement released yesterday, May 21, Baughman wrote, “Not only did Mr. Zacharias himself disregard the agreement with his December 3, 2017 press release, but his passing this week surely diminishes whatever interest was served by requiring the Thompsons to remain silent.” Baughman, though an attorney, does not represent Lori Anne Thompson.
Rachael Denhollander is also supporting Lori Anne Thompson’s effort. She tweeted on May 21, “I stand with Lori. I echo her call for release from the NDA.”
Denhollander goes on to say: “Survivors, never trust an attorney who will let you sign an NDA. Pastors, leaders, never hire an attorney who will request one if you are truly seeking guidance in doing what is right.”
If it is true that Zacharias’ Dec. 3, 2017, statement gave Lori Anne Thompson the right to respond, why didn’t she? She told MinistryWatch, “I have consulted several lawyers and, yes, [Ravi Zacharias] breached the NDA in his statement publicly. I have thereby the capacity to do an equal but opposite statement within the limits of his public breech.”
She said she had “written that statement ages ago (prior to his illness and subsequent death), however, I am rightfully afraid to publish that. We were wrongfully sued the first time and those false allegations have controlled the public narrative.”
Then why not take the December 2017 of Zacharias to court and ask a judge to declare it void?
Thompson said, “I have considered that as an option. It remains an option if we must, but you must know that all litigation is an exercise in revictimization for trauma survivors. I am not keen to find myself hanging off the evangelical cliff again.”
Abdu Murray is senior vice president for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Last week, he told MinistryWatch, “RZIM was not a party to the lawsuit, the mediation, or the NDA so can’t possibly comment on any requests to modify it. Only the Zacharias family can address that. Given that it’s been just a few days since Ravi’s passing and just days before his memorial, we don’t think it’s appropriate to raise it with the family right now.”
The memorial service took place on Friday at the headquarters for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Speakers included Vice President Mike Pence, former football player and sports commentator Tim Tebow, and musician Lecrae.