Human Interest

Pornographer, free-speech defender Larry Flynt dies aged 78

Los Angeles, United States, Feb 10 (efe-epa).- Porn mogul and defender of free of speech Larry Flynt died Wednesday in Los Angeles aged 78, according to US media reports.

The Washington Post, CNN and NBC were among those citing confirmations from various close family members.

Flynt founded the pornographic magazine “Hustler,” with which he started a business empire in the adult entertainment industry and a career throughout which he staunchly advocated for and pushed the boundaries of free speech, defended lawsuits, was imprisoned for contempt, and survived an assassination attempt.

His life was documented in the film “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (1996), starring Woody Harrelson in the role of the well-known businessman, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

Of humble origins, Flynt was born in Kentucky in 1942 and served in both the US navy and the army.

In 1965 he bought his first bar, and eventually expanded to a string of strip joints called Hustler Clubs across the US.

In the early 1970s he started “Hustler,” which began as a two-page newsletter for his clubs and grew into a magazine with a peak circulation of 3 million copies in the 1980s.

The magazine rose to fame in 1975 after running paparazzo photos of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis naked on a beach in Greece, while its competition rejected the shots.

Unlike other publications such as Playboy and Penthouse, Flynt opted for another way to portray sexuality – more crude and explicit than the opposition, which he described as “parading their pornography as art.”

“I realized that if we became more explicit we could get a huge piece of this market … I sensed that raw sex was what men wanted. And I was right,” he once said in an interview, according to the Washington Post.

He published polarizing depictions of gang rape, mutilation and a cover featuring a naked woman going head-first into a meat grinder, sparking international controversy.

Flynt said the picture was an implicit criticism of the porn industry, but his explanations and his agitated defense of the First Amendment (freedom of expression) did not save him from many legal battles and prosecution for obscenity.

In 1978, he was shot in an apparent assassination attempt near a courthouse where he was defending another legal battle, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

In the decades that followed, he got his start in the production and distribution of porn films, opened casinos and flirted with politics by running for governor of California in 2003.

While in the 1980s he identified as a Republican, he eventually shifted to be a Democrat and in 2017 offered a $10 million reward for any evidence leading to the impeachment of former Republican president Donald Trump. EFE-EPA


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