Larry Flynt: First Amendment Champion, LGBTQ Ally, Unapologetic Provocateur
The world lost another icon this week in the form of Larry Flynt, whose Washington Post obituary called him “one of America’s most notorious pornographers and self-proclaimed champions of First Amendment freedoms.”
Most famous for Hustler and his adult entertainment empire, Larry Flynt was also an LGBTQ ally. Hustler was created to be the total alternative to magazines like Playboy and Penthouse, which he seemed to look down on, once stating they “were parading their pornography as art, with the airbrushing and the soft lens.” He added that he “realized that if [Hustler] became more explicit, [Hustler] could get a huge piece of this market.” At the same time, while other distributors seemed to shy away from magazines with gay themes, “Flynt filled that niche,” too.
However, his support for LGBTQ rights went further than simply filling his pockets. He was a strong believer in gay rights, as well as same-sex marriage.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve always been a big supporter of the LGBTQ community. This is a wonderful film and a must see.
Review: What was a nice Jewish couple doing in a business like this? https://t.co/sdsDM8pHZI
— Larry Flynt (@ImLarryFlynt) April 22, 2020
In 2016, Flynt gave an interview with San Diego CityBeat, saying, “I’ve always been pro-gay rights. I’m a civil libertarian to the core. … I’m especially conservative on fiscal issues, in terms of how I handle my money and how the government handles my money, but on social issues I’m totally liberal. I don’t think the government has any business in your bedroom whatsoever, and it’s none of their business who you’re in there with or what you’re doing.”
Larry Flynt’s career was riddled with legal battles, including the landmark First Amendment case Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell. Flynt was increasingly concerned with censorship, the regulation of pornography, and obscenity laws in the United States. He was outspokenly critical of Miller v. California’s three-part obscenity test — particularly its use of community standards, which he argued were unpredictable. He was also … not the most polite guest in a courtroom.
Larry Flynt died yesterday. He participated in several Supreme Court cases, including the landmark 1st Amendment case Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, but did you know Chief Justice Warren Burger had him arrested at the court in 1983 for screaming obscenities at the justices? pic.twitter.com/rgcebMsb91
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) February 11, 2021
Unabashedly outspoken on a number of issues, Larry Flynt also knew when to put his money where his mouth was, offering up $10 million to anyone who could help impeach Donald Trump in 2017. Funny, bold, politically active and truly fascinating — Larry Flynt’s legacy will last forever.
Did you know about Larry Flynt’s LGBTQ allyship?
Featured image of Larry Flynt: Dan Tuffs/Getty Images