Larry Flynt, Founder of Hustler Magazine And Ardent First Amendment Proponent Dies

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78-year old Larry Claxton Flynt Jr. has died at Cedars-Sainai Medical Center in Los Angeles.  Flynt had been in declining health for a while.  He is most known for his pornographic magazine Hustler, which won several important First Amendment rights paving the way for the magazine to grow into a media empire for Flynt.

In 1978, Flynt was the target of an assassination attempt which left him a paraplegic as he continued growing his magazine and his wealth.  Following his second divorce by age 21, Flynt began buying bars and turned them into topless entertainment bar and called them Hustler clubs.  At one point Flynt started a small newsletter to patrons about his Hustler clubs and events, this eventually became the Hustler magazine.

As Hustler published more hardcore, raunchy, and fetish themed issues, it played to a different market than the more classy Playboy magazine.  Flynt’s approach this the magazine saw it come under fire numerous times by politicians, other media publications, and various groups from across society’s spectrum.  Each time, Flynt fought the cases in court on First Amendment grounds and won many of his cases, which opened the door for other publishers to have a more free hand in their own media and content.  “My position is that you pay a price to live in a free society, and that price is toleration of some things you don’t like,” he once told the Seattle Times. “You have to tolerate the Larry Flynts of this world.”

Among Flynt’s legal victories was a case at the U.S. Supreme Court in which Rev. Jerry Falwell sued Flynt after an alcohol ad in 1983 suggested the televangelist lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse.  This case along with much of Flynt’s life was portrayed in the 1996 film, “The People vs. Larry Flynt”.