Jerry Falwell Jr.
|Christ died for|
our articles about
|Devil's in the details|
|—Jerry Falwell Jr. explaining how crucifying Christ was justified from a Christian point of view.|
Jerry Lamon Falwell Jr. (1962–) is an American attorney, evangelical Christian activist, and former academic administrator. He served as president of Liberty University from his father's death in 2007 until resigning in disgrace in 2020.
Falwell was the most prominent evangelical leader to embrace Donald Trump, showing that the lack of morality among the Moral Majority is intergenerational. There was concern that Trump may ironically have appointed him Secretary of Education, instead of someone just as bad. Falwell says he was offered the education job but turned it down.
Falwell ruled Liberty University with an iron fist, forcing faculty and students alike to not deviate from pro-Trumpist, far-right Christianity. Falwell promotes right wing conspiracy theories; for example, he used social media to claim that Hillary Clinton conspired with Russia to come up with the Steele Dossier.
2020 was a year of controversy for Falwell. Lowlights include flippant dismissal of COVID-19, calls for parts of Virginia to secede from the state, and a racist tweet that resulted in many African American employees and athletes quitting Liberty University.
In August 2020, Falwell posted a picture to Instagram from a party on a yacht. In that photo, he revealed that he was a fan of the show Trailer Park Boys (as he was dressed like one of the characters from the show), a fan of
rum and Coke Cuba libre "black water", and lastly, a big fan of posting selfies to Instagram with his pants unzipped, exposing his underwear choice of the day to the world. This clearly violated Liberty University's dress code regulations, and violated Liberty's policy on drinking alcohol. A poster on Reddit calculated that if a Liberty University student was captured in the same scene, thanks to Liberty's strict social regulations, the student could possibly have accrued more than $9,000 in school fines and 900 hours of required service, and possible expulsion. This was the last straw for many Liberty University faculty.
If there are two things that make evangelicals really uncomfortable, it is alcohol and sex. The yacht photo contained both. Outrage was widespread in the evangelical community, and consequently, Falwell took an "indefinite leave of absence" from the university.
Adding even more to Falwell's woes, a business partner (Giancarlo Granda)[note 2] alleged that he was involved in a multiyear sexual relationship with Falwell and his wife. Ironically (considering the considerable use of the insult cuckold or cuck as a snarl word among Donald Trump supporters online, and Falwell's unswerving support for Trump) according to the allegations, Falwell "enjoyed watching from the corner of the room" while the business partner had sex with his wife. This is essentially the literal definition of what a "cuck" really is. The Falwells had also had engaged the services of Michael Cohen, Trump's disgraced personal lawyer, to keep a number of incriminating photographs from the public — this happened before Cohen was imprisoned and turned on Trump.
On August 24, 2020, Falwell resigned as president of Liberty University, and withdrew from the university's board or directors. To add insult to injury, Lynchburg, Virginia, where the school is located, went blue for the first time in over 70 years during the 2020 U.S. presidential election, rejecting his favorite president.
In late October 29, 2020, Falwell Jr. sued Liberty University for breach of contract and bizarrely, given the complete lack of a connection of Liberty University to Falwell Jr.'s exhibitionist/cuckold lifestyle, defamation.[note 3] Predictably for such a baseless lawsuit, it was dropped by December 2020.
Using Virginia's unique "business conspiracy" law that makes it illegal for two or more people to conspire to harm the reputation of a business, Liberty University fired back on April 2021 by suing Falwell Jr. for 10 million dollars. The charges also included breach of contract and fiduciary duty. One of Falwell Jr.'s defenses in the "pool boy" affair (in an August 23, 2020 article in the Washington Examiner) was a claim, denied by Granda, that Granda was trying to extort money from the Falwells over the matter. The suit alleges that Falwell knowingly withheld this information during his contract renegotiation in 2019 — according to the lawsuit, had Liberty known "the full circumstances of Granda's extortion of Falwell Jr.," "the Executive Committee would have refrained from entering into the [2019 agreement]". The lawsuit also complained that Falwell failed to disclose and address his issues with alcohol. In an additional sting for the Falwell family, a son of Falwell Jr., Trey Falwell, was dismissed from his role as a Liberty University vice president in April 2021.
Following his bitter feud with the Liberty University Executive Committee, Falwell claimed that he is no longer an evangelical, though still a right-wing Christian:
- Farewell To Falwell: Controversial Trump Ally And Liberty University President Had A History Of Unusual Behavior
- Though it says in Matthew 5:38-39 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.", Falwell did not turn the other cheek when he sued Liberty University for forcing him to resign.
- The 20-something Granda, who had practically no business experience, was often referred in the media as the "pool boy", due to his prior occupation as a pool attendant before being hired by the Falwells for the very serious business venture.
- Also bizarrely, the Falwell Jr. lawsuit took swipes at the Lincoln Project, prompting some fine mockery of Falwell from Lincoln Project senior advisor Kurt Bardella.
- Jerry Falwell Jr. is suing Liberty University after his forced resignation over sex scandal: The former president was ousted earlier this year and now hints he was victim of political retribution. by David K. Li (Oct. 29, 2020, 6:56 AM PDT / Updated Oct. 29, 2020, 1:14 PM PDT) NBC News.
- How Jerry Falwell Jr. found his MAGA religion by Elizabeth Bruenig (2 January 2019) The Washington Post.
- Jesus said love our neighbors as ourselves but never told Caesar how to run Rome-he never said Roman soldiers should turn the other cheek in battle or that Caesar should allow all the barbarians to be Roman citizens or that Caesar should tax the rich to help poor. That’s our job. by Jerry Falwell Jr. (4:15 PM - 25 Jan 2018) Twitter' (archived from 18 Mar 2021 03:03:16 UTC).
- Jerry Falwell, Jr.: Donald Trump Offered Me the Secretary of Education Job, But I Turned It Down
- Creationist Jerry Falwell, Jr. Met with Donald Trump About a Possible Dept. of Education Position
- Jerry Falwell, Jr → SECRETARY OF EDUCATION?
- Will E. Young, Inside Liberty University’s ‘culture of fear’: How Jerry Falwell Jr. silences students and professors who reject his pro-Trump politics. The Washington Post, 24 July 2019.
- Sarah Pulliam Bailey, "Jerry Falwell Jr.: ‘If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those’ Islamist terrorists" Archived from the original at The Washington Post, 5 December 2015.
- .@HillaryClinton colluded with Russia to buy a phony dossier to influence the outcome of a presidential election BUT, if USA hadn’t colluded with Russia, we would’ve lost WWII in Europe or would’ve had to use atomic weapons there. That’s how HRC justified her actions, I suppose🙄 (11:51 AM - 30 Jun 2019) Twitter (archived from July 1, 2019).
- "Why That Falwell Jr. Yacht Photo Was the Final Straw" by Ruth Graham, Slate, 2020 August 7
- "Jerry Falwell Jr accused of hypocrisy after sharing photo of pants unzipped" by Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian, 2020 Aug 4
- "wut is happening", Tweet by @RobDownenChron (Robert Downen, Houston Chronicle reporter), archived on 8 Aug 2020
- "Jerry Falwell Jr. will take a leave of absence from Liberty University" by Dakin Andone, CNN, 2020 August 7
- The Saga of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Bizarre Relationship With a Miami Beach Pool Boy, Explained by Ryan Bort (June 20, 2019) Rolling Stone.
- Aram Roston, Business partner of Falwells says affair with evangelical power couple spanned seven years. Reuters, 24 August 2020.
- "The evolution of “cuck” shows that different far-right groups are learning the same language" by Tim Squirrell, New Statesman, 2017 August 3
- Rob Boston, Falwell Says Nothing Could Lead Him To Drop Support For Trump. Church and State Magazine, February 2019.
- Victoria Bekiempis, Jerry Falwell Jr confirms he has resigned from Liberty University. The Guardian, 25 August 2020.
- Susan Svrluga, Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Michelle Boorstein, Jerry Falwell Jr confirms he has resigned from Liberty University. Archived from the original at The Washington Post, 24 August 2020.
- Laura Vozzella and Susan Svrluga, Lynchburg goes blue for president for the first time since Harry Truman in 1948. Archived from the original at The Washington Post, 8 November 2020.
- "Jerry Falwell Jr. is suing Liberty University after his forced resignation over sex scandal" by David K. Li, NBC News, 2020 October 29
- "Jerry Falwell Jr. drops lawsuit against Liberty University" by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post, 2020 December 10
- "What Is A Business Conspiracy?" by the Kevin W. Mottley, The Mottley Law Firm
- "Liberty University Sues Ex-President Jerry Falwell, Jr., Seeking Millions In Damages" by Rachel Treisman, NPR, 2021 April 16
- "Falwell’s son out as VP at Liberty University" by Brandon Ambrosino and Michael Stratford, Politico, 2021 April 14
- Liberty University Inc. v. Jerry L. Falwell Jr., Complaint, 2021 April 15
- Inside Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Unlikely Rise and Precipitous Fall at Liberty University by Gabriel Sherman (January 24, 2022) Vanity Fair.