Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Adventures of Larry Flynt

Scruples if Not Morals

Jessica Lynch
Jessica Lynch

While Flynt's detractors see him as the most vulgar pornographer the country has ever seen, he prefers to wear the mantle of First Amendment protector and deflator of two-faced politicians and self-appointed saviors. In 1998, when the Republican-led Congress was clamoring for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, wagging prudish fingers at the president's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, Flynt offered $1 million to anyone who could provide him with evidence of sexual shenanigans among Republican lawmakers. He made the same offer in a 2007 Washington Post ad, asking for proof of sexual affairs conducted by government officials or members of Congress.

DVD Cover: The People vs Larry Flint
DVD Cover: The People vs Larry Flint

Enthroned on his gold-plated wheelchair, Flynt wears his veneer of sleaze as proudly as his garish shirts and gaudy jewelry. But as he has said many times in and out of court, sleaze is not a crime, and Americans have a constitutional right to publish it and read it if they chose to. To many, he appears to be a man without morals, but Flynt has shown that even he has scruples. He had obtained nude photographs of Private First Class Jessica Lynch, the soldier who was dramatically rescued from her Iraqi captors in 2003. He had intended to publish them but then had second thoughts. Flynt and other critics of the Bush Administration felt that she was unfairly used by government officials to garner support for the war. Though he said he paid $750,000 for the photos, Flynt decided not to release them, saying that Lynch was a "good kid" who got caught up in the government's propaganda machine.

Director Milos Forman made a film based on Larry Flynt's life, The People vs. Larry Flynt, starring Woody Harrelson as Flynt and rock star Courtney Love as Althea Leasure. It was released in 1996.

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