rags-to-riches hero

Flynt, Larry

Strip-club owner turned porn publishing magnate (chief title Hustler magazine) who achieved international renown as the subject of the 1996 bio-pic The People vs. Larry Flynt. In the movie Flynt was portrayed (by the unrealistically handsome Woody Harrelson) as a bombastic, but ultimately charming, rags-to-riches hero of First Amendment rights.

The film revolved around a 1988 Supreme Court decision to overrule a 1984 jury award of $200,000 to Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell for his “emotional distress” at Hustler’s publication of a parody concerning Falwell having sex with his mother. The ruling protected the parody as political satire.

After The People vs. Larry Flynt opened to almost unanimously good reviews in late 1996, one of the few dissenting voices was Ms. magazine founder Gloria Steinem, who, in a New York Times editorial, pointed out that the film neglected Hustler’s “images of women being beaten, tortured, and raped, women subject to degradations… Continue reading