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Larry Flynt

Larry Flynt attending the "Free Speech Coalition Awards Annual Bash Event" - Los Angeles, CA on November 14, 2009
Born Larry Claxton Flynt
November 1, 1942 (1942-11-01) (age 67)
Lakeville, Magoffin County, Kentucky,
United States
Spouse(s) Mary
Althea Flynt (1976-1987)
Elizabeth Berrios
Larry Flynt's Famous $80,000 Gold-Plated Wheelchair - November 14, 2009

Larry Claxton Flynt, Jr. (born November 1, 1942) is an American publisher and the head of Larry Flynt Publications (LFP). In 2003, Arena magazine listed him at the top of the "50 Most Powerful People in Porn" list.[1] Hugh Hefner was listed second.

LFP mainly produces sexually graphic videos and magazines, most notably Hustler. The company has an annual turnover of approximately $300 million. Flynt has fought several prominent legal battles involving the First Amendment, and has unsuccessfully run for public office. He is paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries sustained in a 1978 assassination attempt.[2]




Larry Flynt was born on November 1, 1942, in Lakeville, Magoffin County, Kentucky, the eldest of three children to Claxton Flynt and Edith Arnett. Flynt's family was destitute; he claims Magoffin County was the poorest county in the nation during and in the years after the Great Depression.[3] He has a younger brother named Jimmy Ray Flynt, born June 20, 1948. His father was an alcoholic soldier who served in the U.S. Army in the European theatre of World War II, so Flynt was raised solely by his mother the first three years of his life.[4] In 1951, Flynt's sister, Judy,[5] died of leukemia at age four.[6] The death provoked his parents' divorce one year later, and Larry went to live with his mother in Hamlet, Indiana. His brother Jimmy went to live with his maternal grandmother in Kentucky. Two years later, Larry returned to live in Lakeville with his father, because he disliked his mother's new boyfriend.[4][7]

While attending Salyersville High School (now Magoffin County High School) during his freshman year, he ran away from home and, despite being only 15 years old, joined the United States Army using a counterfeit birth certificate.[8] It was around this time that he developed his passion for the game of poker. Since the United States was at peace, the Army decided to discharge Flynt and many others. He returned to live with his mother and found employment at the Inland Manufacturing Company, an affiliate of General Motors, but there was a union-led slowdown and he lost his job after only three months.[9] He then returned to live with his father. For a short period, he became a bootlegger, but he stopped when he learned that county deputies were looking to arrest him.[10]

After living on his savings for a few months, he decided to try joining the military again and, using his counterfeit birth certificate, successfully enlisted in the Navy. He went on to become a radar operator on the USS Enterprise. He was the operator on duty when the ship was assigned to recover John Glenn's space capsule.[11] He was discharged in July 1964.

First enterprises

In early 1965, Flynt took $1,800 from his savings and bought his mother's Dayton, Ohio bar, the Keewee. He refitted it and was soon making $1,000 a week; he used the profits to buy two other bars. He worked as many as 20 hours a day, taking amphetamines to stay awake.[12] He frequently had to break up fistfights between drunken customers; once he almost killed a customer with his firearm.[citation needed]

He decided to open a new, higher-class bar, which would also be the first in the area to feature naked hostesses who danced; he named it the Hustler Club. From 1968 onward, with the help of his brother Jimmy and later his girlfriend Althea Leasure, he opened Hustler Clubs in Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toledo. Soon each club grossed between $260,000 and $520,000 a year. He also acquired the Dayton franchise of a small newspaper called Bachelor's Beat, which he published for two years before selling it. At the same time, he closed a money-losing vending-machine business.[13]

Hustler magazine

In March 1972, Flynt created the Hustler Newsletter, a four-page, black-and-white publication about his clubs. This item became so popular with his customers that by May 1972 he expanded the Hustler Newsletter to 16 pages, then to 32 pages in August 1973. As a result of the 1973 oil crisis, the American economy went into recession. Revenues of Hustler Clubs declined, and Flynt had to either refinance his debts or declare bankruptcy. He decided to turn the Hustler Newsletter into a sexually explicit magazine with national distribution. He paid the start-up costs of the new magazine by deferring payment of sales taxes his clubs owed on their activities.

In July 1974, the first issue of Hustler was published. Although the first few issues went largely unnoticed, within a year the magazine became highly lucrative and Flynt was able to pay his tax debts.[14] In November 1974, Hustler showed the first "pink-shots," or photos of open vulvas.[15] Flynt had to fight to publish each issue, as many people, including some at his distribution company, found the magazine too explicit and threatened to remove it from the market. Shortly thereafter, Flynt was approached by a paparazzo who had taken nude pictures of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis while she was sunbathing on vacation in 1971. He purchased them for $18,000 and published them in the August 1975 issue.[16] That issue attracted widespread attention, and 1 million copies were sold within a few days. Now a millionaire, Flynt bought a $375,000 mansion ($1.4 million in 2009 dollars)[17]


Building from which Larry Flynt was shot

On March 6, 1978, during a legal battle (see below) related to obscenity in Gwinnett County, Georgia, Flynt and his local lawyer Gene Reeves Jr. were shot in an ambush near the county courthouse in Lawrenceville. The shooting left him in a wheelchair, with permanent spinal cord damage. White supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin confessed to the shootings, claiming he was outraged by an interracial photo shoot in Hustler. Franklin, who is currently on death row for unrelated murder charges, has never been brought to trial for the attempted killing. Flynt has made statements indicating he believes Franklin's story, and some police officials also concur.[citation needed] Flynt's injuries caused him excruciating, constant pain, and he was addicted to painkillers until multiple surgeries deadened the affected nerves. He also suffered a stroke caused by one of several overdoses of his analgesic medications; he recovered but has had pronunciation difficulties since.[citation needed]

Personal life

Flynt has been married five times. He married his fourth wife, Althea, in 1976 and they remained married until her death in 1987. He married his current wife, Elizabeth Berrios, in 1998. He has four daughters and a son.

He was an evangelical Christian for one year, converted in 1977 by evangelist Ruth Carter Stapleton, the sister of President Jimmy Carter. He became "born again" and stated he had a vision from God while flying with Stapleton in his jet. He continued to publish his magazine, however, vowing to "hustle for God."[18][19] He has since declared himself an atheist.[20][21]

Flynt disowned his eldest daughter, Tonya Flynt-Vega, after she became a Christian anti-pornography activist. In her 1998 book Hustled, she claims that Flynt sexually abused her as a child, often calling her names.[22] Flynt has denied the charges, claiming to have passed a polygraph test and to be in possession of a tape recording of his daughter admitting she made up the accusations for money.[23]

In 1994 Flynt bought a Gulfstream II private jet, which was used in the movie The People vs. Larry Flynt. In 2005 he replaced it with a Gulfstream IV. He currently resides in the Hollywood Hills.

Flynt has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[24]

Flynt's enterprises

LFP, Inc. headquarters in Beverly Hills
Larry Flynt's Hustler Club on West 52nd Street in New York

By 1970, he ran eight strip clubs throughout Ohio in Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Cleveland.

In July 1974, Flynt first published Hustler as a step forward from the Hustler Newsletter, which was advertising for his businesses. The magazine struggled for the first year, partly because many distributors and wholesalers refused to handle it as its nude photos became increasingly graphic. It targeted working-class men and grew from a shaky start to a peak circulation of around 3 million (current circulation is below 500,000). In November 1974, it showed the first "pink-shots," photos of open vulvas. The publication of nude paparazzi pictures of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in August 1975 was a major coup. Hustler has often featured more explicit photographs than comparable magazines and has contained depictions of women that some find demeaning, such as a naked woman in a meat grinder or presented as a dog on a leash — though Flynt later said that the meat grinder image was a criticism of the pornography industry itself.[citation needed]

Flynt created his privately held company Larry Flynt Publications (LFP) in 1976. LFP published several other magazines. It also included a distribution business, something that may have angered the Mafia, which traditionally organized the distribution of porn. LFP did not expand beyond pornography until 1986, but later its output included more mainstream work. LFP sold the distribution business, as well as several mainstream magazines, beginning in 1996. LFP started to produce pornographic movies in 1998, through the Hustler Video film studio, which bought VCA Pictures in 2003.

On June 22, 2000, Flynt opened the Hustler Casino, a card room located in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena. After it opened, many observers in the gaming industry speculated that, because of his past legal troubles, Flynt might not be able to get a license to operate a card room. However, the California Gambling Control Commission has confirmed that Flynt is the sole proprietor and gaming licensee of the Hustler Casino.

Other ventures either wholly owned by or licensed by Flynt or LFP, Inc. include the Hustler Clubs and the Hustler Hollywood Store. LFP also publishes Barely Legal, a pornographic magazine featuring young women who have recently turned 18, the minimum age for a pornographic or erotic model.

In 2001, Larry Flynt stated his net worth as $400 million.[25]

Legal battles

Flynt has been embroiled in many legal battles regarding the regulation of pornography and free speech within the United States, especially attacking the Miller v. California (1973) obscenity exception to the First Amendment. He was first prosecuted on obscenity and organized crime charges in Cincinnati in 1976 by Simon Leis, who headed a local anti-pornography committee. He was sentenced to seven to 25 years and served six days; the sentence was overturned on a technicality. One argument resulting from this case was reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981.[26]

Outraged by a derogatory cartoon published in Hustler in 1976, Kathy Keeton, then girlfriend of Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, filed a libel suit against Flynt in Ohio. Her lawsuit was dismissed because she had missed the deadline under the statute of limitations. She then filed a new lawsuit in New Hampshire, where Hustler's sales were very small. The question of whether she could sue there reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983, with Flynt losing the case.[27]

Because of a vulgar outburst by Flynt, this case is occasionally reviewed today in first-year law school Civil Procedure courses, due to its implications regarding personal jurisdiction over a defendant. During the proceedings, Flynt reportedly shouted "Fuck this court!" and called the justices "nothing but eight assholes and a token cunt" (referring to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor).[28] Chief Justice Warren E. Burger had him arrested for contempt of court, but the charge was later dismissed.

Also in 1983, he leaked a surveillance tape to the media regarding John DeLorean. In the videos, when arresting DeLorean, the FBI is shown asking him whether he would rather defend himself or have "his daughter's head smashed in."[29]. During the subsequent trial, he wore an American flag as a diaper and was jailed for six months for desecration of the flag.[30][31]

In 1988, Flynt won an important Supreme Court decision, Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, after being sued by Reverend Jerry Falwell in 1983 over an offensive ad parody in Hustler that suggested that Falwell's first sexual encounter was with his mother in an out-house. Falwell sued Flynt, citing emotional distress caused by the ad. The decision clarified that public figures cannot recover damages for "intentional infliction of emotional distress" based on parodies. After Falwell's death, Flynt stated that despite their differences, he and Falwell had become friends over the years, adding that, "I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling."

As a result of a sting operation in April 1998, Flynt was charged with a number of obscenity-related offenses concerning the sale of sex videos to a youth in a Cincinnati adult store he owned. In a plea agreement in 1999 LFP, Inc. (Flynt's corporate holdings group) pleaded guilty to two counts of pandering obscenity and agreed to stop selling adult videos in Cincinnati.

In June 2003, prosecutors in Hamilton County, Ohio, attempted to revive criminal charges of pandering obscene material against Flynt and his brother Jimmy, charging that they had violated the 1999 agreement. Flynt claimed that he no longer had an interest in the Hustler Shops and that prosecutors had no basis for the lawsuit.

In January 2009, Flynt filed suit against two nephews, Jimmy Flynt II and Dustin Flynt, for the use of his family name in producing pornography. He regarded their pornography to be inferior.[32]


  • Flynt is a Democrat. He is a staunch critic of the Warren Commission and had offered one million dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the assassin of John F. Kennedy. He once tried to link the attempt on his own life to the Kennedy assassination.
  • In 2003, Flynt was a candidate in the recall election of California Governor Gray Davis, calling himself a "smut peddler who cares".[33] He finished 7th in a field of 135 candidates.
  • Flynt has repeatedly weighed in on public debates by trying to expose conservative or Republican politicians with sexual scandals. He did so during the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton in 1998, offering $1 million for evidence and publishing the results in The Flynt Report. These publications led to the resignation of incoming House Speaker Bob Livingston. In 2007, Flynt repeated his $1 million offer and also wrote the foreword to Joseph Minton Amann and Tom Breuer's The Brotherhood of Disappearing Pants: A Field Guide to Conservative Sex Scandals, which contained some cases published by Flynt.[34] In 2003, he also purchased nude photographs of Private Jessica Lynch, who was captured by Iraqi forces, rescued from an Iraqi hospital by US troops and celebrated as a hero by the media. Ultimately, Flynt did not release any photographs, calling Lynch a "good kid" who became "a pawn for the government".
  • Flynt supported activist groups opposed to the war in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

Works about Flynt

In 1996, Flynt published his autobiography, An Unseemly Man: My Life as a Pornographer, Pundit, and Social Outcast (ISBN 978-0787111786).

A film, The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), was based on his life, starring Woody Harrelson as Flynt, Courtney Love as Althea and Edward Norton as Flynt's attorney Alan Isaacman. Flynt himself made a cameo appearance as an Ohio judge and also a jury member in the court scene of the Jerry Falwell case. The film was directed by Miloš Forman and co-produced by Oliver Stone.

Laura Kipnis analyzes the class politics of Hustler magazine in "(Male) Desire and (Female) Disgust: Reading Hustler" reprinted in Kipnis's Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America (Duke, 1999).

A documentary, available on DVD, Larry Flynt: The Right to be Left Alone, directed by Joan Brooker-Marks [1] [2] [3] was released in 2008.


  1. ^ "The Porn Power 50," Arena Magazine, October 2003.
  2. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 170-171.
  3. ^ Sex, Lies and Politics L.Flynt ISBN 1-84513-048-0
  4. ^ a b Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 12.
  5. ^ The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
  6. ^
  7. ^ Tonya Flynt-Vega, Ted Schwarz, Hustled (1998) ISBN 0664221149, page 285.
  8. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 16-17.
  9. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 21.
  10. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 22-23.
  11. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 38.
  12. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 56.
  13. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 81.
  14. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 88 and 95.
  15. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 91
  16. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0, page 98-99.
  17. ^ According to the CPI Inflation Calculator at
  18. ^ Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross, An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast (1996) ISBN 0-7475-3398-9, page 166.
  19. ^ "[Stapleton and Flynt] formed a fast friendship, which resulted in Flynt’s surprising and publicized conversion to Christianity." Larry Flynt
  20. ^ Flynt writes "I have left my religious conversion behind and settled into a comfortable state of atheism" in the epilogue of his autobiography An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast by Larry Flynt and Kenneth Ross (1996) ISBN 0-7871-1143-0
  21. ^ " I am not saying he don't believe in God. I am just saying I don't believe in God. That puts me at odds with him." Larry King Live, January 10, 1996
  22. ^ Flynt-Vega, Tonya (1998). Hustled. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 310. ISBN 978-0664221140. 
  23. ^ USAToday Larry Flynt
  24. ^ Larry Flynt: The trouble with Larry
  25. ^
  26. ^ Larry Flynt v. Ohio, 451 U.S. 619.
  27. ^ Keeton v. Hustler, 465 U.S. 770.
  28. ^ David Bowman, "Citizen Flynt",, 2004 July 8.
  29. ^
  30. ^ AROUND THE NATION; Flynt Indicted on Charge Of Desecrating the Flag - New York Times
  31. ^ Visual Symbolism and Stereotypes in the Wake of 9-11
  32. ^ Kim, Victoria; Blankstein, Andrew (7 January 2009). "Porn mogul Larry Flynt sues nephews over use of family name". Los Angeles Times.,0,6802038.story. Retrieved 8 January 2009. 
  33. ^ Candidates, CNN August 6, 2003.
  34. ^ Joseph Minton Amann & Tom Breuer, The Brotherhood of Disappearing Pants: A Field Guide to Conservative Sex Scandals. Avalon (2007). ISBN 9781568583778

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Larry Claxton Flynt (born November 1, 1942) is an American publisher, the head of Larry Flynt Publications (LFP). LFP mainly produces pornographic content, including videos and magazines, most notably Hustler.



  • Majority rule will only work if you're considering individual rights. You can't have five wolves and one sheep vote on what they want to have for supper
  • My position has always been that there's two types of people opposed to pornography: those who don't know what they're talking about, and those who don't know what they're missing.
    • The Henry Rollins Show, episode 313
  • 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 would visit me in California and we would debate together on college campuses. I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling.


  • This is for Larry Flynt.
    • Kimora Lee Simmons after seeing a "party house", specifically after seeing an indoor hot tub with fur on the "rim" of it. Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, episode Keepin' it Real Estate.


  • I don't mind women protesting, but why can't some cute ones do it?
  • If the human body's obscene, complain to the manufacturer, not to me.
  • That's 'Mr. Smut Peddler' to you!
  • There's nothing that will change someone's moral outlook quicker than cash in large sums.
  • The two most misused words in the entire English vocabulary are love and friendship. A true friend would die for you, so when you start trying to count them on one hand, you don't need any fingers.
  • Women are here to serve men. Look at them, they got to squat to piss. Hell, that proves it.
  • You take a picture of a murder, which is illegal, and you can win Picture of the Year for TIME Magazine. You take a picture of two people having sex, which is not illegal, and you can get thrown in jail.
  • Freedom of speech doesn’t protect speech you like; it protects speech you don’t like.

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