Flynt on Falwell: 'He knew what I was selling, and I knew what he was selling'
Hustler Publisher and famed pornographer Larry Flynt remarked that he and "arch-enemy" Jerry Falwell, the leading fundamentalist Christian leader who passed away on Tuesday morning, both lived as salesmen.
"I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling," said the magazine magnate in a statement released Tuesday.
The pornographer also used the occasion of Reverend Falwell's death to reflect upon the impact of the court's decision in Hustler v. Falwell.
"The most important result of our relationship was the landmark decision from the Supreme Court that made parody protected speech, and the fact that much of what we see on television and hear on the radio today is a direct result of my having won that now famous case which Falwell played such an important role in," he argued.
Flynt and Falwell were on opposite sides of a landmark free speech case decided in 1988 by the Supreme Court over the parody advertisement reproduced above, in which Falwell supposedly describes losing his virginity to his mother. The Court found Falwell and other public figures could not seek damages for suffering emotional distress from parodies like the one published by Flynt in the 1983 edition of Hustler.
Nevertheless, the controversial publisher also said that while the two had been "archenemies," they later became friendly.
"My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person, when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about them that you like. Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years after the trial, Jerry Falwell and I became good friends," he said.
The full statement can be read at this link.