The People vs. Larry Flynt

  • Theatrical - Wide 2011-04-05

It was the early 1970s, the twilight of the sexual revolution in America, when a sex industry entrepreneur named Larry Flynt leveraged a small string of Ohio strip-clubs into the beginnings of a publishing empire. Hustler was a raw and raunchy magazine that pushed the limits of American tolerance. Its publisher, a grade-school dropout and Kentucky redneck, was nobody’s hero, but circumstance would cast him as the era’s last crusader. It was a role that brought Larry Flynt both ruin and glory.

Flynt faced his greatest public challenge when Jerry Falwell, the leader of America’s self-proclaimed “Moral Majority,” sued over a scandalous Hustler parody presenting a satirical account of Falwell’s first sexual experience — with his mother in a backwoods outhouse. Though cleared of libel charges but told to pay restitution for emotional distress, Flynt chose to appeal his right to free speech to the Supreme Court, which led to a unanimous, precedent-setting decision in Flynt’s favor. As Flynt’s permanent contribution to American jurisprudence, it was his greatest victory.

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