CNN logo



Larry King Live

Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell

Aired January 10, 1997 - 9:00 p.m. ET

LARRY KING, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, the fight for free speech. It's Larry Flynt versus the Reverend Jerry Falwell. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

ANNOUNCER (voice-over): Now, live from New York, here's Larry King.

KING: Good evening on this rather historic night with the release tonight of the movie "The People Vs. Larry Flynt," which opens nationwide to tremendous reviews, which the publication of Larry Flynt's autobiography, "An Unseemly Man: My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit, And Social Outcast." We have brought together tonight the two men who become the central figure of the last 25 percent of that film. The film is titled "The People Vs. Larry Flynt," but it could have been called "Jerry Falwell Vs Larry Flynt." And we bring both men together for the first time in -- when was the last time you two were together?

LARRY FLYNT, "HUSTLER" PUBLISHER: 1988 on Koppel, wasn't it?

KING: You were on "Nightline" together?

REVEREND JERRY FALWELL: I'd forgotten we had that. I was thinking the courthouse in '84 in Roanoke, but it wasn't. We were on Koppel; that's right.

KING: Were you at the Supreme Court the day of the arguments?

FLYNT: Yeah.


KING: You both were there, saw each other in the court.

FLYNT: Yeah, but we weren't in the mood to talk.

KING: What are your feelings right now, Jerry, toward Larry Flynt, today, right now?

FALWELL: Well, I have never had any ill feelings toward him. I think that his business is sleaze and garbage, and I think that it's demeaning to women and children.

KING: No ill feelings toward him?

FALWELL: Of course not.

KING: How do you break that down between feelings about sleaze...

FALWELL: I am a Christian. My interest is that the next time around Larry, when he accepts Christ, he'll really mean it and go on and get rid of that magazine and go for God.

KING: And how do you feel about Mr. Falwell?

FLYNT: I always thought Jerry was a hypocrite, and I still feel that way.

KING: Because?

FLYNT: And I think the rhetoric he spews out has caused more harm than any ideas since the beginning of time.

KING: You don't think he believes in God?

FLYNT: 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.

KING: Right. But because you don't believe, what makes him hypocritical?

FLYNT: He has his right to express his views regardless of what hypocrisy might be involved. I am not questioning that at all.

KING: So, what's the hypocrisy? You said he's hypocritical. What is the hypocrisy?

FLYNT: I just think, you know, to ride around in a private jet being paid for by little old lady's social security checks, you know, it's just not a not a very nice thing to be doing.

FALWELL: I don't want to upset you, but I don't own a private jet. I don't own a model airplane. My ministry years ago owned airplane that was supported and paid for by Christian businessmen through their corporations. I got a salary and have for 41 years from the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg...

KING: But there is a rubbing wrong about Christians making money though, isn't there? Isn't there something rubbing wrong about a reverend who makes money?

FALWELL: There's a general impression that Billy Graham should take a pauper's vow and that all the priests should be living...

KING: They got the call from God.

FALWELL: That's right. But there's nothing biblical about that. I mean, we -- I have a wife, I have been married to her about nearly 40 years, and three children. They're married, and grandchildren.

KING: They got to eat.

FALWELL: They have to live and eat and so forth. KING: Let's go back. When you decided to do the now famous parody of Jerry Falwell in that Campari ad -- take me back to that time. Was it something you jumped at right away? In the movie you they portrayed that you loved it.

FLYNT: Before I add to that, let me address the question of the jet. He had it the last time I seen it. Now, maybe he chose to get rid of it. I don't know.

FALWELL: I probably was -- probably was leasing -- chartering one. I either fly commercial like you do or charter, and I go back and forth, but it has been at least 10 years since the ministry had an airplane.

KING: Let's not get off on...

FLYNT: Getting back to the ad, Larry, it was a takeoff on a Campari Liquor ad where they have celebrities talking about their first time.

KING: First time they had sex.

FLYNT: It was supposed to be the first time drinking Campari, but with the innuendo you get the impression it's not the first time they had sex. So, we decided, you know, what a funny thing to do to include Jerry Falwell in this parody talking about his first time but actually his sexual experience.

KING: And then you also had him, though, with his mother.

FLYNT: In an outhouse, and he had to kick the goat out first. I mean, it was clearly a satire.

KING: Taste is not your strong suit, right, Larry?

FLYNT: That's right. But the jury in Virginia said that it was not libelous. The issue before the supreme court was something else.

KING: I know. We'll get to that. When you saw it the first time, reaction?

FALWELL: OK, I was in Washington, and a reporter, as I was leaving a press conference, said, have you seen the current issue -- upcoming issue of "Hustler"? I said no nor any of the prior ones. Well, you're in there. I said, nothing new. I have been in it a number of times. But your mother is in this one. That's when I saw the ad and my mother had not passed just -- just shortly passed, and she was 82 and a sweet wonderful Godly lady. I am a public figure like you are, and that goes with the territory but I...

KING: If your mother weren't in it, you would have never raised a ruckus?

FALWELL: If my mother hadn't been in it, it would have been just a chuckle and walked on. But with my mother, wife, children...

KING: And your reaction was what?

FALWELL: My reaction was this is over the line. I am a public figure, but I think -- you know, nothing is unlimited. The First Amendment is not without limits. If I had a copy of the current issue of "Hustler" right now and handed to it you, you could not put it on this camera. If I tried, somebody would cut it off because somebody has decided responsibly not fit for human consumption, right?

KING: That would be an executive or myself making a taste decision.

FALWELL: But it wouldn't go on.

KING: But you couldn't stop me from putting it on.

FALWELL: No, but you wouldn't do it and the people upstairs wouldn't let you do it, and I doubt the FCC would let you do it. I suspect you'd be stopped. But that's not -- the issue was that I felt that since many public figures in Hollywood had successfully sued "National Enquirer" for things less than that, that maybe -- and it wasn't money. You know, we -- peanuts, we were talking about -- cost a lot more than $200,000. The idea was that while you can attack a public figure, you shouldn't be able to attack his mother, or is wife, or his children, they are not public figures. But she was deceased, so obviously she had no action. Libel was not the issue. Mr. Grutman did bring libel into it.

KING: Mr. Grutman is the lawyer?

FALWELL: That I used. He was a First Amendment lawyer.

KING: He also represented Bob Guccione.

FALWELL: And who dropped him when he came with us, never went back with Mr. Guccione.

KING: Now, Larry, your intent was pure parody, right? Unlike the "National Enquirer," your intent was not to lie?

FLYNT: We identified the ad as a parody and said it was not to be taken seriously. You know, if it would have been a statement of fact, Jerry would have had all the basis for his lawsuit and would have won and would have collected damages.

FALWELL: A question to you, Larry. If somebody accused you of having sex with your mother in an outhouse, would you take it seriously, regardless parody or not?

KING: I would regard it as maybe a poor parody. I'd be hurt, but I would know I couldn't win a suit though.

FALWELL: I know that, but we thought perhaps...

KING: You didn't sue on pain -- you won -- the Supreme Court overturned the decision in your favor.

FLYNT: He won at the trial level; he won in the second circuit, at the appellate level.


FALWELL: wasn't outrageous -- inflicting emotional pain. And I think that those justices would not have been limiting legitimate media. "Hustler" is not legitimate media. That's sleaze bag...

FLYNT: Wait a minute. Point to the fact of what would have happened had I lost. Let's say the Supreme Court would have decided in the reverend's favor, OK. That would have meant anybody that is doing parody, any editorial writers, anyone who is doing something that might inflict emotional distress on whoever they're writing about...

KING: Political cartoonists.

FLYNT: ...political cartoonists -- I mean, the whole industry would have been a pearl. I think that's why it was a unanimous decision in my favor. I knew the Supreme Court didn't like me. I know Jerry wasn't happy with it.

KING: Why wouldn't they like you?

Does the sun rise in the east?

FLYNT: And you know, Jerry still hasn't come to grips with that decision. He still thinks the court was wrong.

FALWELL: I still -- of course I do.

KING: They were wrong, all of them. Scalia was wrong?

FALWELL: Oh, yes. I think pornography is a scourge on society. It's demeaning to women and children. Gloria Steinem and I don't agree on much, but we agree on this, that Hollywood will never deify a clansman or a Nazi.

KING: But they can.

FALWELL: They could, but they would never do that -- and for Oliver Stone to deify a sleaze merchant. That's what Larry is, in all due respect.

KING: But you love him?

FALWELL: I do love him, and I pray for him. He won't believe that, but I do pray for him. He needs his salvation.

KING: We'll be right back with Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell. The book is out, and so is the film. We'll ask Jerry. He hasn't seen a movie; maybe he'll go see this one. Don't go away.


KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE with Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell, their first time together in 12 years, and certainly -- why won't you go see this movie?

FALWELL: You know, I went a personal boycott of Hollywood about 45 years ago. And it was not bad then, but I was -- and part of the real story is I don't have time. I work 6:00 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.

KING: You didn't see "Schindler's List"?

FALWELL: No, I did not.

KING: Now, this is a movie in which you're depicted -- the movie is fair, I'll tell you this. It presents what happened. The guy who plays you is a double for you. What is his name?

FLYNT: Richard Paul.

KING: Richard Paul is a double for you.

FALWELL: (unintelligible) and I took a vacation.

KING: Why wouldn't you get the tape and watch it? I mean, just out of pure...

FALWELL: I just don't have any interest.

KING: No curiosity?

FALWELL: I have no curiosity at all.

FLYNT: He's probably already seen it, Larry.

FALWELL: No, I haven't seen it.

KING: You don't believe him?

FALWELL: I haven't seen it, and I don't plan to. I tell you, I saw a movie a years ago. Clint Eastwood called and said, Jerry, I am doing the "Pale Rider, and I want you to see this one. I said, well, Clint, I am kind of on a -- he said, I'll rent a theater in Lynchburg, I'll close it down, and you go privately to see it. So, I did. He wanted me to critique it. And I went.

KING: That was kind of a version of Christ...

FALWELL: That's why he wanted know see what he was doing.

KING: But you saw that. So why not go see this?

FALWELL: I don't think I'll see much of Christ in this one. I really and truly -- it's not just this movie I am not going to see. I just have to policy. I don't waste time.

KING: Were you happy with the movie, by the way?

FLYNT: I was very happy with it.

KING: Fair to you?

FLYNT: The movie was true. It didn't glorify me.

KING: Didn't glorify anything.

FLYNT: If there was a hero in there, it's the Supreme Court.

KING: Why did you decide to be, as you said, without taste? In the movie, that great line Woody Harrelson says, "The Supreme Court was designed to protect me, and I have no taste." Why would you make that personal decision?

FLYNT: The type of humor published in "Hustler" is outrageous political and social satire and offensive cartoons. But this is the kind of material the people in the workplace, the shops and the factories are really into and find funny, and that's who I publish the magazine -- I am not publishing the magazine for the whole country, only for my readers. So, I was responding to that particular market. Yeah. So, I got a little bit of a sick sense of humor, so what? .

FALWELL: Larry, I get misquoted a lot, so you may have been misquoted a lot. I wrote a quote that was attributed to you recently. You said I cannot imagine, I cannot fathom anything with more redeeming social value than pornography. You didn't say that, did you?

FLYNT: I certainly did. I think it's the most purist form of art. I want to address -- Gloria Steinem and the women. Gloria Steinem is an ancient-old-relic feminist whose only claim to fame is helping some ugly women march.

KING: Other than that, you're crazy about her.

FLYNT: Her opinion is not really important because she doesn't speak to the mainstream women in America. And as far as the magazine being demeaning to women...

KING: It isn't?

FLYNT: ...the models pose willing, for the magazine. None of them ever said they were forced or coerced, and for every one that poses, there's another 10,000 in line that would want to. So, they have a totally different take on how pornography should be perceived by women than Gloria Steinem. Then Jerry brought the children in, too. I want to address that. I have never said "Hustler" was a magazine for children, but we can't limit it to what's fit for children, or we'll have nothing but "Alice In Wonderland" and "Little Red Riding Hood." There's plenty of things harmful to children, but we don't suppress them, we just restrict their sale. And I am not opposed to this. I am not opposed to the v chip.

KING: You're not? Not at all?


KING: Why was the court wrong since First Amendment is -- someone said the only thing that separates us from the world is our first -- it's the most precious thing. If you lose the First Amendment...

FALWELL: The First Amendment is already limited. You can't libel someone here, nor can I.

KING: I can sue you for it.


FALWELL: You can't scream fire in a crowded theater. In other words, my First Amendment rights and yours end where the welfare of the little people begins, and there are laws about that. It would not have been unreasonable for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule as the fourth circuit court of appeals did, that there is a sensible line where that a garbage magazine like "Hustler" can go so far but cannot demean and attack, even in a parody or whatever, innocent, nonpublic figures...

KING: Like the mother of a public figure.

FALWELL: ...children, that kind of thing. That's just mean. Like he said, he doesn't mean to demean women and dumping here on Gloria Steinem. What about feeding a nude woman through a meat grinder on the cover of his magazine? What about strapping a woman to the front of a hunting truck coming out of the woods nude and so forth.

KING: Bad taste.

FALWELL: It's worse than bad taste. It reflects a hatred for...

FLYNT: Jerry, when you call me garbage, call me Mr. Garbage.

FALWELL: No, I didn't say you were garbage. I said your magazine is garbage. You are poor and off center and needing Christ.

KING: He loves you, Larry.

FALWELL: Absolutely.

KING: Let me get a break. We'll come right back with more.

FALWELL: ...but I hate your magazine.

KING: Hate? Don't go away.


KING: Is anything you ever do, Larry, embarrassing to you?

FLYNT: Oh, yeah.

KING: Sitting here with me is embarrassing!

FLYNT: Some of my behavior in the courtroom, you know, the hill, is embarrassing. I wouldn't advise anybody to behave that way.

KING: Why did you do that?

FLYNT: Well, I'd already been shot paralyzed. I was in a wheelchair. They were dragging me into court in L.A. to force me to give up my (unintelligible) on the Delorean (ph) tape. I said, hey, if this was a fine on one of the major networks, they wouldn't be fining them $10,000 holding them in contempt. So, I just did the complete opposite of everything I was supposed to do, and tried to be just as absolutely outrageous as I could.

KING: You were. How do you feel now about becoming kind of a hero to the "New York Times," "The Washington Post," briefs on your behalf filed by people like -- I guess CNNs and the others because you stood up for you -- the king of smut suddenly are the kind of the intellectual world?

FLYNT: To me a hero is an as a result of a final act committed by a coward. I think if you lift some of those boys faces out of mud in Vietnam and ask them if they had it to do all over again would they still be willing to give their life for country...

KING: Would you do it all over again?

FLYNT: I think many of their answers would be the same as mine, that is no. I wouldn't give up my legs for anything or anyone, so I think that disqualifies me for hero status.

KING: You don't consider yourself a hero?


FALWELL: Larry didn't save the First Amendment. The First Amendment saved him. Larry says himself...

FLYNT: First thing he said I agree with.

FALWELL: He was not intended to save that First Amendment. He was trying to take that $120-million industry higher and be able to say -- what the court...

KING: That's American as apple pie, Jerry.

FALWELL: Well, now I would say that really anybody that wants to test the limits because of that particular ruling can go on to kiddie porn go on to whatever, and with a little tweaking, they can absolutely do that.

FLYNT: Quit being irresponsible.

FALWELL: Before either one of us are dead, kiddie porn will be legal tender in this country.

FLYNT: Look, when you're talking about kiddie porn that's...

FALWELL: I didn't say you were going to do it. FLYNT: But see, that's a totally separate issue because...

KING: But he's saying one will lead into...

FALWELL: I am saying one will lead to the other.

FLYNT: I am saying what takes -- when the rights of someone is violated that are not old enough to speak for themselves, that is the crime, not the photography.

FALWELL: Larry, I, as a pastor...

FLYNT: Kiddie porn should never exist and the will never exist, I don't think.

FALWELL: Glad to hear you say that. But as a pastor who has counseled many -- forget all the studies. Studies usually result in whatever the person paying for it wants it to, but I believe that pornography is responsible for inciting many of the sex crimes.

KING: How do you know that?

FALWELL: As a pastor.

KING: A belief, you mean.

FALWELL: In talking with people who have done these things, how in the world do you get started? I got hooked on porn first.

KING: Some people drink and become alcoholic, most don't. I looked at pornography and never raped anyone.

FLYNT: Let me address that question. There was a presidential commission established by Lyndon Johnson because of the onslaught of pornography in the 60's to find out if there was a harmful effect on society. After a two year investigation, spending over $3 million and talking to social scientists from all over the world, they concluded that there was no scientific evidence that exposure to this material was harmful to anyone. Of course, the study was released during the Nixon era, and it's been gathering dust ever since.

FALWELL: Ronald Reagan commission also did a study.


FALWELL: The only reason you don't like his and you like Lyndon Johnson's is because study comes out to be that your garbage production causes sex crimes.


KING: What do you think happens? You think someone reads "Hustler" and runs out and...

FALWELL: Not just "Hustler." I think perverted minds out there read that garbage. It incenses them. It fuels their passion. KING: How many people buy "Hustler" every month?

FLYNT: Half million.

KING: All these all sinners, in your opinion, all half million who buy it? Are they all bad people?

FALWELL: I am not even pushing that point.

KING: The readers.

FALWELL: I am saying pornography hurts anyone who reads it, garbage in, garbage out. I think when you feed that stuff into your mind, it definitely affects your relationship with your spouse, your attitude towards life, morality.

KING: I've got to get a break. Were you shocked when the court came back 9-nothing?

FALWELL: No, no. We were anticipating losing at the fourth circuit court. We were shocked when we won...

KING: So, you were not surprised to lose?

FALWELL: Oh, no.

KING: Were you surprised it was unanimous?


KING: We'll be right back with more. We'll be including your phone calls. They're our guests the full hour. Tomorrow night, our year in review on LARRY KING WEEKEND. Among our guests next week, Dan Rather, Charles Barkley, and in his first prime time live appearance, Dick Morris. We'll be right back.


KING: Only in America! Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell. Formerly in the right, although Miss Steinem might be in a bit of a reverse position wondering about these opinions.

FALWELL: She doesn't like either one of us.

KING: I guess not. Does this ruling mean that we can parody almost anything?

FLYNT: Yeah, as long as it's not a statement of fact.

KING: So all parody works?

FLYNT: Yeah.

KING: You could do -- "Hustler" could do an issue of the president with his grandmother?

FLYNT: Yeah.

KING: With his dead grandmother. You could do anything.

FLYNT: Or Jennifer Flowers.

KING: But you could do anything?

FLYNT: Yes. As long as it's a parody, a satire.

KING: Why does that offend you since we know it was done in humor? As they pointed out in the film, no one believed you slept with your mother. No one who read that believed you slept with your mother.

FALWELL: And I, from the beginning in the court, that's the first I was asked, and I said no, I don't think any reasonable person would believe that. But the issue to me is more than just ridiculous, and it's more than just the crude. To me it's malicious.

KING: All right. We have a right to be malicious too, don't we? Don't we?

FALWELL: We do now. Do now. But I was hoping we wouldn't. That's why we went to court.

KING: You have a right for malice? Do you have a right to show malice?


KING: He said you have a right to be malicious based on this ruling, the parody.

FLYNT: That's not true. You know, you can't be malicious in a statement of fact. It may be interpreted as being malicious because it's part of a parody, but...

FALWELL: I don't think you do it out of love.

KING: What offends you about parody? It could be good parody -- some joke could make me laugh and not make you laugh.

FALWELL: Hey, I'm politically cartooned like you -- well not like you, but like most public figures are on a regular basis, particularly when I speak out on an issue -- that doesn't bother me at all. We got hundreds of them. The worst political cartoonists in the world, though, would not think of attacking Mrs. Larry King or...

KING: But that's a judgment on taste.

FALWELL: They just don't do that.

KING: This image you have created -- well, now it's kind of this heroic with this movie and everything. You can't like the image you have, Larry. You can't like -- you can be rich from it. FLYNT: I am not on any kind of quest for respectability. You know? I like who I am, and I am proud of the things that I have done, and I am not trying to be accepted by the masses.

KING: Why not?

FLYNT: I have -- I have a loyal readership out there. And those are the only people that I am really concerned with.

KING: So, you have no desire to be respectable in society, to be praised, to be admired?

FLYNT: No, no. I know I am in the minority. It would frighten me to death if the majority started agreeing with me.

KING: Why weren't you angry with the people who buy "Hustler"?

FALWELL: For the same reason I am not angry with people who got go to the VCR store and get a R-rated or X-rated movie. It's a matter of choice in selection. I don't agree with it, but it doesn't anger me at all.

KING: You wouldn't ban the store, would you? Or you would?

FALWELL: No, I would not, but if I had the authority -- I want to be honest about this. If I had the authority, I would put Larry out of business tonight.

KING: Not his computer magazine?

FALWELL: Not his computer. All of his garbage production. And let me tell you about this... Let me tell you how I found out about this movie.

KING: Wait. I have to get a break in 30 seconds. Let me get the break and come back you can tell me. We'll be taking your phone calls. We're only halfway through. Don't go away. This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.

FALWELL: I'm going to receive and offering now.


KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. We're in New York City with Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell. "The People Vs. Larry Flynt," that movie opened nationwide today, and Mr.Flynt's book, his autobiography, is also out everywhere as well. And Jerry Falwell, of course, was the person heavily involved in this case. And all of that is depicted in the picture with an incredible likeness of Jerry Falwell. Also in the movie, Larry Flynt plays the judge who sentences Larry Flynt and is a harsh, Jerry Falwell kind of judge.


KING: All right, you wanted to say something about...

FALWELL: I am not a harsh judge. I would be easy on him.

KING: You wouldn't send him to jail.

FALWELL: I wouldn't send him to jail...

FLYNT: He said if he could put me out of business tonight, he would. The same thing the religious zealots have been saying since the beginning of time. You know, the church has had its hand on our crotch for over 2,000 years and the government is exceedingly moving in that direction because they both feel if they control your pleasure, they can control you.

FALWELL: What's your pleasure...

FLYNT: I just think it's time that the government goth got out of the business of legislating morality. It's fine for people to have morals and values. If they work for you and your family, that's great, but you can't impose them on others. It's none of your business what your neighbor's doing in his bedroom. That's the issue.

KING: Why is it your business?

FALWELL: Let me tell you how I heard about this Oliver Stone movie. His daughter, Tonya Flynt, called me. She is 31 now, lives in Jacksonville, Florida. She's recently accepted Christ as her savior, and she's trying to put her emotional life back together. She has an article out this month in the (inaudible) magazine, and she says Mr. Stone is going to try to deify my father. She said, I love my father dearly, but he cannot be a hero. She said he sexually molested me as a child, beat me, threatened my life twice if I wrote the book she is writing. That's how I learned about this.

KING: Oliver Stone didn't direct this movie, he wrote...

FLYNT: He produced it.

KING: He produced it. Milos Forman (ph) directed. What about your daughter? Then we'll take some calls. Got to be painful.

FLYNT: She -- she's a lying little wacko who I don't even know. She is 31 years old. I spent maybe 30 days her in my whole life. That was after I was shot in 1978. So, I don't even know the girl. And how she could be running around making these accusations is beyond me, but I have three grown daughters that I have a wonderful relationship with, and the members of the media or the other people that are interested in knowing about the sexual abuse charge, you know, should talk to them.

KING: Hey, the woman who charged Mr. Irvin in Dallas was lying, we have learned tonight. Maybe she was lying too.

FALWELL: Let me say that I have talked in length with Tonya, and another counselor has done the same thing in Jacksonville, Florida, where she is serving the lord. Everybody who has talked to her believes her, but all I'm saying is -- Larry just said when someone is trying to control our pleasure center -- well, a pleasure center for him, I suppose he is talking about his crotch, but for most people in the world, that is not where pleasure is drived.

KING: But I don't want government to control anybody. It's not the government's business.

FALWELL: I understand. Well the government's going to control some things. They're not going to let you...

KING: Speed.

FALWELL: That's right. Or steal or lie. That hurts other people. There are lots of things. Certainly, they control your crotch if you're raping someone or hurting someone, that kind of thing.

KING: Absolutely.

FALWELL: Nobody is trying to tell him who he can sleep with or not sleep with. All I am saying is that what he does, I know as a pastor, adversely affects children and women, and there's no way to deny that. He can deny it...

FLYNT: But you want to say whether people have the right to read pornography or not, and it's wrong for you to make an issue with children out of this because these magazines aren't for children.

FALWELL: Though -- it doesn't matter who they're for. The fact is, and there's nobody listening to us right now, Larry, who thinks your magazines are not read by children. It's like thinking children don't smoke. The fact is they do read it.

KING: But you wouldn't ban Philip Morris.

FALWELL: No, I am not saying banning -- there's a big difference between smoking that may cause lung cancer, which I think is bad, and producing pornography.

KING: What's worse Philip Morris or "Hustler"?

FALWELL: Oh, "Hustler" is worse than about anything I can think of.

KING: Worse than an ingredient that might give you lung cancer?

FALWELL: This thing will give you heart cancer. His magazine will sent you to hell, in my opinion.

KING: Let me get a call. Lexington, kentucky, for Falwell and Flynt. Hello.


KING: Yes.

FEMALE CALLER: Mr. Flynt, you stated that you hadn't known of any case that pornography hurt anybody. How can you see it helps anybody? FLYNT: Because people enjoy it. For those that don't enjoy it, they don't have to pursue it.

KING: Also, things don't have to help everybody. You can make a picture that doesn't help anybody. You're not required to help people. Are you proud of "Hustler"?

FLYNT: Sure. Greatest magazine in the world.

KING: Because?

FLYNT: Huh? Because it's totally unpretentious. It's the only honest publication out there.

KING: Shouldn't you read it if you're going to criticize it?

FALWELL: You don't have to take the cap off a sewer to know it stinks.

KING: But I couldn't testify in court it stinks unless...

FALWELL: I don't plan to testify in court.

KING: I wouldn't go on television and say that sewer stinks unless I smelled it.

FALWELL: During the hearing, the beginning of 12 years ago, it was necessary for me to study every part of his magazine where he attacked me all the way through trying to build a modest trail. And I wouldn't let my wife or anybody in my family see what I had to look at. It really shocked me.

FLYNT: You sound like Charlie Keating now.

FALWELL: It's bestiality in there, for example. I hear the movie from press people doesn't point out the bestialty that's in the magazine.

KING: It doesn't show -- really show the ad up close.

FALWELL: I don't mean the ad. I am talking about bestiality, sexual slavery -- I mean, the basest kind of human behavior. His magazine is not just...

flynt : I don't know what magazine he has been reading. We don't do bestiality.

KING: You don't do bestiality?

FLYNT: Our pictorials are very sensual.

FALWELL: So, "New York Times" is lying?

FLYNT: That's right. They probably, maybe talking about some of the satire in the front of the book.

KING: You brought up his daughter. What about Charles Keating? What was his involvement with you?

FALWELL: I don't know Charles Keating.

KING: Sat next to you -- that's not true in the film?

FALWELL: Of course not. Charles Keating in what court?

FLYNT: He helped your people.

FALWELL: In what court?

FLYNT: Preparing your case.

KING: That's in the movie.

FALWELL: Well, that's just -- that's more of Oliver Stone's fiction.

KING: Charles Keating -- you don't know him?

FALWELL: I don't know Charles Keating, no.

KING: What about that, Larry? The picture makes him -- I think Keating comes into his office, doesn't he?

FALWELL: I saw Keating once in the lobby of a hotel in phoenix the week before he was indicted. I saw him standing in the Phoenician (ph) Hotel.

KING: And he recently got out on appeal, to be fair to Mr. Keating -- but you don't know Charles?

FALWELL: And I think that Charles Keating -- I don't know a thing about what happened, so I don't want to say anything negative about Charles Keating, but I'm simply saying I don't know him. There's no connection with Charles Keating and that court case in any way.


FLYNT: I think he was definitely worked and worked with Jerry's attorneys as well.

KING: It implied he helped finance it almost.

FLYNT: I don't know...

FALWELL: If Charles Keating is watching right now, and I am told by many he's a very decent human being, perhaps he'll dial in here and tell you he's in no way...

FLYNT: Three million dollars off of little old -- people in the country.

KING: If he did what they said he did...

FALWELL: I don't know that's true at all. I hear him saying that.

KING: You're not a friend of his and don't know him?

FALWELL: Of course not. I met him in a hotel lobby in Phoenix.

KING: Maybe you ought to see this movie, you might have a lawsuit.

FALWELL: Oh, no.

KING: You might have a lawsuit. That's not parody. This movie is not parody.

FALWELL: I don't think anything, considering Oliver Stone's background, I have read the reviews in all of his -- you know, "Nixon," "JFK," and so on -- I don't think he tries to claim historical accuracy. What he does, he tries to have a good box office. So, I would think, to make a hero out of...

FLYNT: Jerry, we're not misrepresenting...

FALWELL: make a hero out of Larry Flynt doesn't mean you've got to mean you've got to have a great imagination.

FLYNT: ...this is Oliver Stone's interpretation of the film.


FLYNT: It's Milos Foreman's interpretation of the film, not Oliver Stone's. Oliver is the producer of the film. He did not direct it. Milos Foreman has got a lot of integrity, and he would never make a film, you know, that he felt portrayed anything wrong.

KING: Let me take a break. And as we got to this break, here's a clip from "The People Vs. Larry Flynt," which, by the way opened tonight. Watch.


ACTOR: Over.

WOOD HARRELSON, AS LARRY FLYNT: No, it's not over, we can go higher.

ACTOR: Higher?

HARRELSON: The Supreme Court.

ACTOR: Yeah.

HARRELSON: Give them a call.

ACTOR: It's not that simple, Larry. It's not that simple. You -- I mean, thousands of people every year petition the Supreme Court, OK, thousands.

HARRELSON: Now, our case is as good as any.

ACTOR: Our case is better than most of them. You're missing my point. My point is, they will never pick you because you're a nightmare. They're afraid if they let you in the court, you're going to wear a diaper or throw oranges at the justices. And they should be, Larry, because in all of the times you've gone to the court asking for help, you've never once demonstrated any respect for its institutions and procedures. So, as far as they're concerned, you're just a pig.

HARRELSON: Well, you always, and it's the principle, a pig has the same rights as a president.


KING: We're back. We know that you are anti-porn, are you anti- region?


KING: You think region is damaging to people?

FLYNT: I think it's caused more harm than any other idea, since the beginning of time.

KING: Why? If it is possible add to that briefly.

FLYNT: Well, to me, life's like assembly line. You get on and at some point you fall off. And, you should make the most of it while you are here. Now, if these people can get through their day to day lives better with religion, fine. It's a free country, they can do it, but I'm much happier as an individual, since I removed myself from that God-culture environment, that I came up in.

KING: Did Jimmy Carter's sister have you attracted to it, as the movie depicts?

FLYNT: No...

KING: That was wrong...

FLYNT: ...She was a very good friend, but the spiritual experience that I had, many people question the sincerity...

KING: You were you baptized, though right?

FLYNT: ...It was very real, very profound, it actually happened. But, see, when that happens to most people, they can only seek counseling from their neighbor or friend, or local pastor. I was able to seek professional help as to what I was going through, it was just part my manic depressive personality. I'll tell you....

KING: ...You consider baptizing being part of manic depressive?

FLYNT: ...I have a message for those born again. If they just take a little lithium, they would be fine. They choose to go away and the voices would disappear...

KING: ...He has a question for you.

FALWELL: Why were you baptized?

FLYNT: Because I believed.

FALWELL: Believed what?

FLYNT: Oh, man, I thought I'd found God big time.

FALWELL: But, you think it was all up?

FLYNT: Yes. I think it was all a chemical.

FALWELL: Because, I met a pastor who is still living, who is a friend of Ruth Carter Stapleton, Bob Harrington and he thinks a lot of you, and he said that he thought that you really meant that, when you did that.

FLYNT: Oh, I was, I was...

FALWELL: ...And said that you later said that it would be too costly for you and that...

FLYNT: No. That's not what I said...

FALWELL: You didn't that say?

FLYNT: ...Is not what I said. That is not what I said.

FALWELL: I have an idea that you...

KING: Do you believe he believes?

FALWELL: I believe he is not an atheist and I believe the day will come when this guy will sit right here and tell you that...

FLYNT: ...Hallelujah!!

FALWELL: ...That all this was a hoax, he-- I can understand bitterness. Whoever that sorry guy was who shot him, ought to be apprehended, ought to be---this is a terrible thing to do to a human being. I can understand bitterness, I can understand his feelings and all the rest. But I don't believe for a moment in his heart of hearts, that he doesn't believe there is a God.

And the day will come, I'm not prophet, but I predict it, that he will acknowledge that himself and I pray that I will be around to put my arms around you.

FLYNT: He's got his predictions, so when I find God, I will come back.



KING: We'll be right back with more some phone calls for Falwell and Flynt. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Flynt and Falwell. Another call, Chicago, hello.

CALLER, CHICAGO: Hi, I just wanted to ask Mr. Flynt if he thinks that he has any consequences for what he is doing and as an American, it upsets me that our country's pride and morals are dragged down by people like him.

KING: Conscience, Larry ?

FLYNT: Doesn't bother my conscience.

KING: You have a conscience, though, but what you...

FLYNT: Sure.

KING: ...But what you publish doesn't affect your conscience?

FLYNT: What I publish don't affect my conscience at all.

KING: Now, when you talk about-- and you have you described it in very damaging terms; yet you appear at times, to really like him here tonight.

FALWELL: I do like him. More than that I love him...

KING: That's got to be a conflict...

FALWELL: ...I love him, but I hate what he does. And that is not difficult...

KING: Not difficult?

FALWELL: I -- Christ, when he was on earth, he condemned sin, but loved sinners. And I think what Larry is doing is very damaging to people. I think it is wrong. That -- and that is who we are, we are pastors, we were not supposed to be preaching to the choir. I'm sitting here when you invite me to come, I want to get this close to him to tell him I love him, I'm praying for him, I want to see him come to Christ and I want to be his pastor one day.

KING: Don't you believe him?


KING: Don't you believe Jerry, when he says that.

FLYNT: I think Jerry is full of it, Larry!

KING: You think he's full of it... FLYNT: Full of it!!

KING: You think he's full of it, right now?

FLYNT: Full of it!

KING: That he is doing this for a show?

FLYNT: All the way.

KING: That he doesn't care about you, or like you or want to see you?

FALWELL: If I didn't like you, I would have no problem telling you.

FLYNT: Oh, I say Jerry and I could probably wind up liking each other, because I'm sure we might have some things in common, but first of all, you have got to be honest about what it is you're doing.

And, you know, Jerry sells the gospel. That's his business.

FALWELL: I've married about 40 years of same woman and that is the only woman I have ever known sexually in my life and I'm the only man she has ever known. We have three children, our son 34, is a lawyer; our daughter 32, is a surgeon; our son 30, is my associate pastor, our preacher; they're all married to sweet Christian kids. They've got three wonderful grandsons; they all love Jesus...

FLYNT: ...Jerry, I'm proud of you, if you that works for you that is fine...

FALWELL: ...All I'm telling you is, it would work for you, too, Doc. You have been through four marriages now. You need to get this anchored here...

KING: ...Gilroy, California, hello.


KING: Yes.

CALLER, CALIFORNIA: I had a question for Reverend Falwell.

KING: Yes?

CALLER, CALIFORNIA: My question is why.

KING: What?

CALLER, CALIFORNIA: My question is, why has made a point to go after Larry?

KING: Judge, not lest you be judged.

FALWELL: You must not be listening. I'm not going after Larry, I'm going after what he does...

KING: But, you're judging what he does....

FALWELL: I love Larry, but there is nothing wrong with hating sin and loving sinners. And that is exactly how I feel about Larry.

KING: But isn't that a judgment?

FLYNT: Now, that is a strange...

FALWELL: Well, that's exactly what Jesus said...

FLYNT: ...That Jerry Falwell says he loves me...

KING: Chills are going up and down your spine...

FLYNT: That is a strange, strange...

FALWELL: It's bugging you, that is what---and that's exactly how the Lord feels about us all...


FALWELL: ...And God loves everybody. God's no respect to a persons. And while God does--you know I'm very human, I make mistakes every day. God hates the wrong things I do.

KING: In a sense, you have to like him because he has made you money.

FLYNT: Oh, are you kidding...

KING: His suit made you more famous...

FLYNT: ....It cost me a fortune. At least two million dollars...

FALWELL: Oh, that's great, I didn't know how much it was...

FLYNT: ...In attorney fees.

KING: (LAUGHTER) You're happy about that?

FALWELL: I'm happy about that.

KING: How about magazine sales? It balances out, Larry.

We'll be back with our remaining moments, we may even have a closing statement on this historic night. Don't go away.


KING: We have a few minutes left, in this very quick moving program. All right, what have you fellows learned in the last 12 years. What's changed the most about you, Larry?

FLYNT: Oh, I guess I have become a little bit more cynical.

KING: More cynical? Are you surprised that you have become, somewhat, a hero of the free press?

FLYNT: Look, I'm happy about all the acclaim that I'm getting, but I'm -- really feel uncomfortable with it.

KING: You are? You, in last 12 years, have you?

FALWELL: Well I'm obviously, 12 years older and at 63, I'm still chancellor at Liberty University and pastor at Thomas Roe (ph) Baptist Church; and a grandfather now. And, but spiritually, you know, I try grow spiritually every day...

KING: How do you feel about Larry's back coming out and this major movie that's getting so much attention?

FALWELL: Well, no reason. One of the reason's I'm here...

KING: ...Which, I hope you will see.

FALWELL: One of the reasons I'm here is to say that while -- while certainly, the first amendment is very sacred, I have been a publisher of a magazine or a newspaper for 40 years and I'm on television uninterrupted for 40 years, so I believe in first amendment.

But, I don't think that Larry is a -- is a national hero, I think what he does is just the opposite of that and I'm here to say that, while I hope everybody who knows how to pray will pray for this guy, because he could be a great came through for Christ. By no ways, no way should the children of this country, the young people think that he, nor his industry have and redeeming qualities, as they are presently constituted.

KING: "Hustler" sales increased since this movie and this book?

Well, the movie is just coming out today. Think it might?

FLYNT: Oh, sales are up and it will definitely be up further.

KING: Are you going to do anything in "Hustler," about all of this?

FLYNT: I don't know. You know, Jerry forgot to call me a "spiritual dwarf," tonight.

KING: Have you called him a spiritual...

FLYNT: That's usually his line.

KING: Well, you haven't been together in so long, you miss hearing it?

FALWELL: That -- to say somebody is a "spiritual dwarf," it means, at least they are there. KING: (LAUGHTER)

FALWELL: He has got to---we've got to get started somewhere first.

KING: Gentlemen, thank you both.

FALWELL: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Jerry, thanks for agreeing to appear. Look at that, get a picture folks. Do it again!! Nice.


KING: Larry Flynt, Jerry Falwell. And Larry Flynt's book is out, it's called "An Unseemly Man, My Life As A Pornographer, Pundit And Social Outcast." And of course, the movie, "The People Vs. Larry Flynt," opens nationwide today.

And I've got a suspicion, Jerry may see it. Just, even--- I think he is going to see it.

FALWELL: You go with me.

KING: I will go with you. Okay, we got it. Thanks for joining us. Tomorrow night, our year in review. Monday night, Dan Rather.

Good night from New York.

What You Think Tell us what you think!

You said it...

To the top

© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.