UNITED STATES—Larry Flynt, founder and publisher of Hustler magazine, passed away at the age of 78 on Wednesday, February 10 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The magazine’s Instagram page posted on February 11 that “Flynt was not just a man who built a publishing empire, and he was not just a boss or a colleague; he was a mentor, a friend, someone to be admired” and “he will live in our hearts forever.”
Born Larry Claxton Flynt, Jr. on November 1, 1942 in Lakeville, Kentucky, Flynt lived with his mother after his parents’ divorce and after the death of his sister, Judy.
He dropped out of school when he was a high school freshman and joined the military. In the 1960s, Flynt opened strip clubs in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Akron, Ohio.
In order to promote his clubs, Flynt started making newsletters. By 1974, it became a magazine called Hustler.
Over the years, Flynt has dealt with numerous lawsuits regarding his magazine, which contains pornography and obscenity.
In 1983, Reverend Jerry Falwell sued Flynt for $45 million for emotional distress and libel for an advertisement that suggested that the first sexual encounter Falwell had was with his mother. It ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where they unanimously ruled in 1988 that it is protected speech.
Flynt, who calls himself an advocate of the right to free speech, once told the Seattle Times that people “have to pay a price to live in a free society, and that price is toleration of some things you don’t like” and added “you have to tolerate the Larry Flynts of this world.”
Flynt has been permanently paralyzed from the waist and below for more than 40 years after Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer and white supremacist, shot him near a Georgia courthouse on March 6, 1978.
Franklin told CNN in 2013 that he shot Flynt after seeing an interracial couple in Hustler magazine, saying “It just made me sick. I think whites marry with whites, blacks with blacks, Indians with Indians. Orientals with Orientals. I threw the magazine down and thought, I’m gonna kill that guy.'”
In 2013, Franklin was executed in Missouri after confessing to multiple murders (unrelated to Flynt). Flynt was against the death penalty and filed a court motion with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in an attempt to prevent his execution.
After former California Governor Gary Davis faced a recall election in 2003, Flynt’s name was among the more than 100 candidates on the ballot. Arnold Schwarzenegger won the election and served as governor from 2003-2011.
Prior, Flynt was a Republican candidate for the 1984 Presidential Election, when Ronald Reagan became the nominee and won re-election against Democratic nominee and former Vice President Walter Mondale.
Flynt’s death was first reported by TMZ.