|Jerry Falwell, Jr.|
Poor Jerry Falwell, Jr.
And when I say that, I am being extremely sarcastic. The truth is the recent controversy involving him and Liberty University couldn't have happened to two more deserving entities. I should say three entities because even though he is deceased, to see the moral collapse of the legacy that Jerry Falwell, Sr. built is delicious, seeing that he built this legacy partly on lies and homophobia.
On Monday, a blockbuster article came out in Politico detailing how Falwell, Jr. practically rules Liberty University - the Christian college his father created and built - not as a servant of God but as a personification of God.
This story had it all. Corruption, greed, intimidation, power-grabbing. Even sex:
Reuters reported in May that former Trump lawyer (and current federal prisoner) Michael Cohen had helped Falwell deal with the fallout from some scandalous photos. The Miami Herald confirmed in June that the photos existed, and that some of them featured his wife, Becki. And according to Politico, Liberty officials said Falwell showed or sent male friends and associates, including at least one Liberty employee, photos of Becki “in provocative and sexual poses.”
Needless to say that even though some feel that the article probably won't bring down Falwell, Jr. (sexism, homophobia, and racism combined are one hell of a drug, or in this case, aphrodisiac), it still has him attempting to apply scotch tape to his now tattered reputation. Of course if you ask me, his reputation began to develop creases the day he decided to become an ecclesiastical suppository for Trump.
And like what always happens in these controversies, when the subject tries to clean up the damage, he or she usually ends up making things worse. An interesting part of this controversy was a picture of Falwell, Jr. in a Florida nightclub in 2014. It wouldn't be a big deal, except as LGBTQNation points out:
Liberty is so conservative that they don’t allow students to drink, even if they live off-campus and they’re over 21. The school also considers it “improper social behavior” for students to interact with the opposite sex after dark or display any affection for one another beyond hand-holding.
So when the president of a Christian college this strict is caught in a nightclub around all sorts of behavior which could get his students expelled, what does he do?
Deny it all. The Miami Herald reported:
According to Politico, Falwell Jr. “denied the existence of any photo of him at the club.”
Politico quotes Falwell saying in an email to the article’s author Brandon Ambrosino: “There was no picture snapped of me at Wall nightclub or any other nightclub.”
Ambrosino writes that he told Falwell he had the picture. He wrote that Falwell replied: “If you show me the picture, I can probably help you out. I think you are making some incorrect assumptions, or have been told false things or are seeing something that was photo--shopped. ... I never asked anyone to get rid of any pictures on the internet of me and I never have seen the picture you claim is of me below. If the person in the picture is me, it was likely photo-shopped.”
Now why did he do a dumb thing like that? Falwell, Jr. publicly put himself out there for rebuke if other photos should happen to show up.
Which is exactly what happened, courtesy of the photographer, Seth Browarnik, who took the original photo in question. Apparently, Mr. Browarnik didn't appreciate being accused of photo-shopping someone in a picture. In fact, he didn't appreciate so much that he proceeded to post four other pictures of Falwell, Jr., and his son in the same club on his company's webpage.
And with the following message:
For 21 years, I have maintained an impeccable reputation for documenting Miami Beach’s storied social scene. We wholly reject Jerry Falwell Jr.’s baseless allegation in yesterday’s Politico report by Brandon Ambrosino that one of our pictures was “photo-shopped” or manipulated in any fashion. We, in fact, did not know Politico’s purpose for licensing the image and were as surprised as anyone to discover that Mr. Falwell was among the partygoers we photographed on July 19, 2014 at WALL Lounge. As a result, we reviewed all the images we have from the event and discovered an additional four photos that include Mr. Falwell and two more of his son.
(This is the part of the story where you have my permission to pause and go "mmm. mmm. mmm!")
Doesn't this sound like one of those Biblical stories of a leader taken down by his personal immoral desires? One would think that Falwell could take the hint. But apparently he's not going to do that because now he is claiming that there is a conspiracy against him and he wants the FBI to investigate.
This is probably not going to end well for Falwell, Jr.
My biggest worry is will I have enough popcorn