Larry Flynt is a superstar, a rags to riches story if ever there was one, and he did it on his own terms. He developed the Hustler multimedia empire by having a keen business sense, and a lot of moxie. Flynt suffered for his work, though. He was jailed, shot, and lost the love of his life to AIDS, which was all covered in the critically acclaimed movie The People v. Larry Flynt.
Flynt and Hustler have a complicated backstory, and there are many tidbits that even after the movie, people still don’t know. While his rival Hugh Hefner of Playboy fame is an open book with the high profile mansion and reality TV show, the world of Hustler is somewhat of a mystery. This adds to the appeal, but fans don’t want to wait around for a sequel to the movie in order to find out what other secrets and scandals surround Hustler. That’s where this list comes in. It cuts right to the chase to tell everyone 12 things that Larry Flynt doesn’t want you to know about Hustler. We’ve skipped over the less titillating items (his bid to be president on the Republican ticket, his five marriages, and how he disowned his daughter) in favor of the juiciest pieces. Ever the proponent of freedom of the press, this article would make even Larry Flynt proud.
12. Flynt Didn’t Want His Shooter To Be Executed
Larry Flynt has publicly stated that there are only two things he wishes he could change about his life. The first one is that he wishes his wife Althea, hadn’t drowned. The second one is that he wishes he was not confined to a wheelchair due to a murder attempt that was made on him. In the 1970s, a man by the name of Joseph Paul Franklin took a shot at Flynt with the intent to kill him. The shot left Flynt paralyzed from the waist down. Franklin was a white supremacist who murdered many other people. Surprisingly, Flynt voiced his disapproval of the execution of Franklin. He stated in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “As I see it, the sole motivating factor behind the death penalty is vengeance, not justice, and I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.” Franklin was executed in 2013.
11. Flynt Wants To Buy The Mansion
Hugh Hefner/Playboy and Larry Flynt/Hustler have always been rivals. Flynt hasn’t hidden his disdain for Playboy and its founder, as he often criticizes Hef for featuring unattainable women and for being a bad businessman. But apparently that didn’t stop Flynt from wanting to buy the Playboy mansion and evict the bunnies so his Hustler Honeys could move in. Reps confirmed that Flynt made an offer on the mansion. Flynt even boasted that his parties would be more legendary, and that Bill Cosby would never – ever – be allowed on the property.
10. The Magazine Is A Political Powerhouse
Larry Flynt fought many legal battles for the protection of the first amendment. While it’s true that he wanted the freedom to publish hardcore and obscene images, many people miss the greater point he was trying to make – that he was defending everyone’s right to free speech. He put it this way: “It is not freedom for the thought you love but freedom for the thought you hate most.” Hence, Hustler’s depictions of interracial s*x really had political undertones. When Hustler put a woman in a meat grinder on the cover, it was commenting on the adult industry. And when Flynt offered $1 million for information on dirt on public figures like Mitt Romney and Ben Carson, he isn’t doing it to be a jerk. In his mind, he is helping to create a transparent political system.
9. The People v. Larry Flynt Was Accurate
Hollywood movies always sensationalize true events. They take a kernel of truth, and run with it. So when many people watched The People v. Larry Flynt, they figured that most of it was made up. Not so! The evolution of the Hustler business from clubs to a media empire was true. So were all of Flynt’s legal battles. And it was also true that Flynt had a problem with painkillers, came from a poor background, even hit his wife Althea. Flynt will be the first to confirm this. When the director of the film asked him if there was anything in the movie that he didn’t like, Flynt reported “Of course – but it’s all true!”
8. Larry Flynt Is Bipolar
Larry Flynt has been known for his mercurial temperament. Apparently, this is not merely a personality trait – the legendary businessman was diagnosed as being bipolar. Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder experience shifts in mood, energy and activity levels. This might explain some of Flynt’s questionable life choices. For example, there was a period of time (as in years) when Flynt and his wife Althea sequestered themselves behind a steel door in their Bel-Air bedroom. Other times, Flynt would work for 20 hours a day. And then of course there were all those public outbursts Flynt is famous for – like cursing in court, throwing oranges in court, and wearing the American flag as a diaper.
7. Invested In Pineapple Express
It was reported earlier this year that Larry Flynt has invested in a business called Pineapple Express which is a publicly traded cannabis company. His daughter, Theresa, is the vice president of business development. Both agree that the challenges of the marijuana business are much like the challenges of the adult industry. If the Flynt family can do for weed what they did for skin, Flynt would truly be a folk hero. Flynt has long criticized the government’s slowness in not legalizing pot. He has claimed that alcohol companies, prescription drug companies, and even prisons have sought to put up roadblocks because it would mean that their profits would diminish.
6. Days Are Numbered
Larry Flynt has predicted that Hustler magazine won’t be around for too much longer. He has said this is due to increasing competition from the Internet. It’s been reported the magazine only accounts for 5-10 percent of Flynt’s income. He’s not alone in this little problem. Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine recently made a change from nude pictorials to a no-nude policy due to waning subscriptions. Flynt need not fear, though. Larry Flynt Publications is a diverse enterprise, from skin mags to video production to clubs. Flynt also has developed a lucrative business by licensing the Hustler name.
5. Gives Out Free Subscriptions
Larry Flynt gives out free subscriptions of Hustler. You read that right! The catch is that he only does this for members of the U.S. Congress. Always one to rattle cages, Flynt has been quoted as saying: “I felt that they should be informed with what’s going on in the rest of the world.” Flynt is famous for his social activism, and he obviously wants to make sure that his point of view is heard – and that he remains a thorn in the side of the government. The causes Flynt promotes include freedom of speech, racial equality and desegregation.
4. The Magazine Has A Soft Side
On the surface, Hustler is all about featuring raw pictorials. But a loftier goal is to push the envelope in terms of social norms. Larry Flynt has used Hustler as a vehicle to criticize the government and expose scandals, all while making top dollar. But Flynt has a soft side. For example, he was known for his devotion to his wife, Althea, even when she contracted AIDS. He has also demanded that Hustler keep certain scandals it unearthed a secret, for fear that some of the information it has gathered over the years would destroy people. Flynt does have a conscience, and does realize that with great power comes great responsibility.
3. People Read The Magazine For The Articles
There’s a longstanding joke among men that they read Playboy for the articles. Larry Flynt likes to contrast Hustler to Playboy, and promotes the idea that Hustler appeals to the blue collar man and that it is edgier and rawer. He likes people to think that all he does is peddle filth – it’s part of his persona and part of what sells his flagship magazine. But the fact is that people do read Hustler for the articles. The articles are unapologetically politically incorrect, and often expose hypocrisy and scandal. In an age when people are tired of the mainstream media and censorship, Hustler is one of the few places people can go for unedited news and opinion pieces. It features pieces on the war on whistleblowers, the question of gun control and satire.
2. Employed A Jailbird
Aside from its graphic pictorials, Hustler magazine is also known for its racy cartoons. One comic strip they published regularly was called Chester the Molestor, which centered on a man who tried to lure females into his bed. Apparently life imitated art, because the artist Dwaine B. Tinsley was convicted of the crime. He spent almost two years in prison, during which time he continued to draw the cartoon. His conviction was later overturned because it was judged that his profession unfairly prejudiced the verdict.
1. Asked Casey Anthony To Model
Larry Flynt confirmed reports that he offered Casey Anthony $500,000 to pose for the magazine. He was even generous enough to sweeten the deal by allowing Anthony to collect an additional 10 percent of the profits. Flynt admitted that at first he did not consider reaching out to the suspected child killer, but he later changed his mind due to public demand. He said that scores of men approached him during promotional tours and asked him why Hustler hadn’t featured Anthony. Flynt decided to go ahead and ask her, because he sensed that there was a dollar to be made. He did concede that anyone who would be interested in seeing her in the buff would be “sick.” He had even planned to donate part of the potential earnings to children’s charities. That’s why he’s considered such a “moral immoral person.”