Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt slammed former Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. in a scathing editorial on Monday, calling out the evangelical leader’s “gross hypocrisy” and accusing him of spreading a “gospel of greed.”
Flynt, in an article published in The Daily Beast, took Falwell Jr. to task not only for his recent personal scandals that included a Miami pool boy that led to his messy resignation from his post last week but also for his unwavering allegiance to President Trump.
“If there is one person who could be said to have lifted the orange buffoon over the hump in 2016, it’s arguably Jerry Falwell Jr.,” Flynt wrote. “The evangelical base, crucial for the election of any national GOP politician, was not warming up to Trump in the primaries, for good reason. Here was a man who had violated almost every principle of Christian faith: he was married three times; accused of multiple extramarital affairs; repeatedly defrauded investors, contractors, and students; habitually lied; and practiced thinly disguised sexism and racism.”
“If there is one person who could be said to have lifted the orange buffoon over the hump in 2016, it’s arguably Jerry Falwell Jr.”
Flynt’s blistering criticism continued, faulting Falwell Jr. for assuring “his nervous flock that Trump ‘lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment.'”
He also called out Falwell Jr. for supporting Trump following the infamous Access Hollywood tape where he joked about grabbing women’s private parts. Flynt said that while conservatives were getting cold feet about the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, Falwell Jr. “came galloping to the rescue” with “choice bits of flimflammery” including rationalizations that Christians needed “to choose the leader that would make the best king or president and not necessarily someone who would be a good pastor.”
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In December 2018, Falwell Jr. continued to heap praise Trump and rationalized his actions: “It’s such a distortion of the teaching of Jesus to say that what he taught us to do personally – to love our neighbors as ourselves, help the poor – can somehow be imputed on a nation. Jesus never told Caesar how to run Rome.”
Flynt, who is famous for publishing the pornographic magazine, has never been shy about his feelings toward Trump.
In 2017, he offered up to $10 million to anyone who could produce intel that would lead to Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. In 2016, he dangled $1 million to anyone who could turn over video or audio catching Trump behaving in a sexually demeaning or illegal manner.
Flynt has also had his issues with the Falwell family that started in the 1970s after he published Hustler.
Jerry Falwell Sr., then the head of the Moral Majority Christian political group, sued Flynt for libel over a parody in Hustler of a Campari ad that used the liqueur’s slogan: “You’ll never forget your first time.”
The parody featured an interview with Falwell Sr. reminiscing about his “first time” – with his mother in a Virginia outhouse.
The lawsuit lasted several years and included three decisions against Flynt in federal court. The appeals went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and Flynt was ultimately vindicated in a unanimous decision written by conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Flynt said despite the lawsuit, he and Falwell Sr. became friends later in life.
“We enjoyed many cordial visits, participated in debates across the country, and even exchanged Christmas cards,” he said. “I have to concede that his friendship with me proves that, for the most part, he was practicing an essential tenet of his faith, forgiveness, and was a sincere Christian.”
Those feelings apparently were not extended to Falwell Sr.’s son.
Falwell Jr. resigned from the Lynchburg, Va.-based university last week following a tumultuous few months that included posting a picture on social media of a young woman with her zipper undone as well as explosive allegations made by Giancarlo Granda who alleged Falwell Jr. and his wife Becki participated in a long-term affair with him, in which Granda engaged in sexual acts with Becki while Falwell Jr. looked on.
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Falwell Jr. has denied that claim and pinned the blame solely on his wife. He said he was hyper-focused on Liberty University after taking over as president in 2007 and that it likely led to his wife’s “mistake.”
While Falwell Jr. won’t be returning to Liberty any time soon, he did walk away with an estimated $10.5 million payout.