American porn publisher Larry Flynt (78) died

The American porn publisher Larry Flynt died at the age of 78. He built up a porn empire thanks to the explicit barefront Hustler and became a champion of free word.

โ€œ Porn farmer, pornographer, trader in filth, scumbag, bastardโ€, according to Flynt himself all qualifications with which he would be identified forever. โ€œBut I‘m more than that, too.โ€

After a poor youth in the American countryside, Flynt more or less coincidentally rolled into the publishing business: his magazine Hustler started in 1972 as an advertisement brochure for his strip clubs. Flynt went far beyond the more reluctant Playboy or Penthouse.

โ€œ My competitors always pretended pornography was art. We had no pretensions about what we were doing,โ€ Flynt explained his explicit approach. With him no soft focus or artistic lighting: โ€œI thought men wanted rough sex. And I was right.โ€

Imprisonment and assassination

It sentenced him several times in Puritan America for spreading obscenities. Flynt also barely survived an assassination attempt, putting him in a wheelchair. The racist unsub was trying to get revenge for pictures of interracial sex in Flynt’s magazines.

In 1988, one of his cases even came before the Supreme Court, after Reverend Jerry Falwell had sued Flynt for $45 million. In a parody article in Hustler Falwell was staged with an interview about his defloration, supposedly by his mother in an outdoor toilet.

A lower judge ruled that Flynt had indeed defamed Falwell, but the Supreme Court ruled that it was clearly meant satirical and therefore covered freedom of expression. It sealed his status as an advocate of free word, especially when the case was filmed by Milos Forman in The People vs. Larry Flynt, starring Woody Harrelson.

Others were less charmed by the rebellious Flynt. โ€œLarry Flynt should be remembered as a smear on this society,โ€ responds Director Dawn Hawkins of the National Center Against Sexual Exploitation to his death. โ€œHe cooperated and benefited from the exploitation of women and our culture has suffered.

Flynt died after a short illness in his sleep in a hospital in Los Angeles. His daughter and fifth wife were present.