Few months ago, I had the privilege to interview Mr. Larry Flynt. It was before Paris/Grand-Bassam/Bagdad/Brussels/Lahore (and so many others) attacks. I think it’s time to share his words about freedom of speech and why it matters to stop gun violence.
Paris London Style: More than 40 years ago, you launched HUSTLER. Were you not afraid back in the days of censorship and how your magazine would be perceived?
Larry Flynt: In the early days, I was on a mission. Moses freed the Jews, Lincoln freed the slaves and I wanted to free all the neurotics.
From the beginning,HUSTLER was much more than just a magazine with naked women. You opened your door to sub-culture, by hiring Stephen Sayadian who was influenced by the French satirical magazine Hara-Kiri. What did attract you in sub-cultures whereas it was easier to just publish pictures of naked women?
HUSTLER is an entertainment magazine, and we’ve always dealt very heavily in satire and humor. We’ve always sought out contributors who are on the edge and push boundaries.
Talking about Hara-Kira, you’ve been very moved by the shooting at Charlie Hebdo’s office. Freedom of speech is one of your first fights against the establishment. Do you think things are better or worse now?
Things are much better now, but we’ve got a long way to go. America still has a knee-jerk reaction toward sex, and I think that’s something only time will cure.
You define yourself as a “civil libertarian”. You’re supporting now Hilary Clinton for the next election. Why?
I’m concerned with future appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our political system has become so dysfunctional that judges wind up making the decisions that affect our everyday lives rather than our lawmakers. The next President will have the opportunity to name perhaps up to three new members of the High Court. I think that, if Hillary is elected, she’ll nominate moderate to liberal candidates, and restore balance to the Court which has tilted too far to the right.
“What’s really disturbing is thinking about who’s going to vote for him.”
What do you think about Donald Trump campaign and as a candidate?
I think Trump’s an idiot, and he’s got a bunch of idiots following him around. He’s leading that whole clown car of Republican candidates. And, what’s really disturbing is thinking about who’s going to vote for him. The people who watch The Jerry Springer Show probably will, and he’ll get the get low-information voters and folks who can’t count to ten.
The debate about the weapons in the US is one of the main topics right now and especially with the elections at the corner. As one of the victims of weapons, what is your opinion?
We’ve got more guns in this country than we have people. That’s because of the Second Amendment of our Constitution. I have no problem with people being able to defend themselves, or being able to hunt as a sport, but the vast number of assault weapons that people buy in this country every year should not be available to the mass population. I think that, eventually, you will see gun control, because, we will tolerate these continuing mass killings for only so long. Change will have to be made.
“When you meddle with what somebody sees and hears, you’re intruding on their basic thought process, and that is unacceptable.”
HUSTLER is now a huge empire in pornography. As you said once in 2011, now only 5% of your income comes from the magazine. The industry seems to have changed, as mentioned in the recent documentary ‘Hot Girls Wanted’. What has changed for you and your company?
People increasingly get their information from the internet, and most of it’s free, so that’s hurting not just our publication, but virtually all magazines and newspapers. Fortunately, we saw this coming. A quarter century ago, we expanded our Company into casino gaming, retail stores and broadcast television, and all these ventures have been very successful for us.
What are your professional plans for the next decade?
We’re going to expand our profitable businesses. Beyond that, I really haven’t made any plans. I can tell you only that, since people say I can’t take my money with me, I don’t intend on going.
What is, according to you, the next step for the porn industry?
Since the time I started HUSTLER, there’s been not a revolution but an evolution in people’s reading and viewing habits, and the government has no right to interfere with that. When you meddle with what somebody sees and hears, you’re intruding on their basic thought process, and that is unacceptable. The governments of the world cannot keep the streets clean, but they want to keep everybody’s mind pure. The church has had its hand on our crotch for over two thousand years, and the government is exceedingly moving in that direction, feeling that, if they can control our pleasure center, they can control us. But, I think the genie’s out of the bottle now, and people realize sex is something to be enjoyed.
Finally, what could we wish you to mark these 40 years of Hustler?
At this point in my life, I’d still like a pretty girl to pop out of my cake.
©Caroline Madjar (aka Paris London Style)