Obit: 'Hustler' Publisher Larry Flynt Dies At 78

Larry Flynt, the strip-club owner who peddled extreme misogyny in his magazine Hustler, butwas also a First Amendment hero to some, has died at 78.  

Flynt won a key legal victory in 1988, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a 1983 parody depicting Rev. Jerry Falwell boasting of having a tryst with his mother in an outhouse, was free speech protected by the First Amendment. Falwell had sued for $45 million, claiming libel and emotional harm. 

Editors drew the lesson that the more outrageous the satire, the more protected: It was only when content purported to be factual that libel could be argued.  

But Hustler also suggested a type of populist male rage that could be seen as a harbinger of the violent behavior that occurred at the Capitol on Jan. 6., although Flynt himself was a political liberal who offered a reward for dirt on Donald Trump. 

Yet, despite his SCOTUS victory and jousts with the Christian right, Flynt was no hero to feminists. 



“Hustler is depicted as tacky at worst, and maybe even honest for showing full nudity,” Gloria Steinem wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece, the Times recounted yesterday. “What’s left out are the magazine’s images of women being beaten, tortured and raped, women subject to degradations from bestiality to sexual slavery.” 

In 1978, Flynt was shot outside a Georgia courthouse by a man who objected to a depiction of interracial sex in the magazine, and was paralyzed for life. That year, Flynt sent a Christmas card showing himself being led through the sky in a wheelchair by reindeer.  

Flynt’s life was the subject of a 1996 movie, “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” directed by Milos Forman.
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