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Falwell v. Flynt Trial, 1984

9 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2008  

Douglas Linder

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law

Date Written: December 4, 2008


Asked about his first sexual experience by an interviewer, Reverend Jerry Falwell said, "I never really expected to make it with Mom, but then after she showed all the other guys in town such a good time, I thought 'What the hell!'" Falwell went on to describe a a Campari-fueled sexual encounter with his mother in an outhouse near Lynchburg, Virginia. Neither the incestuous sex nor the interview ever happened, of course. They sprang from the imagination of a parody writer for Hustler Magazine. When the Campari parody ad appeared in the November 1983 issue of Hustler, the founder of the politically-engaged organization Moral Majority sued, alleging defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial and appeals that followed would provide great theater, produce a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the First Amendment, and eventually lead to one of the most unlikely of friendships.

Keywords: Jerry Falwell, Larry Flynt, Hustler, Pornography, Moral Majority, First Amendment, Free Speech, Offensive speech, Parody

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Linder, Douglas, Falwell v. Flynt Trial, 1984 (December 4, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Douglas Linder (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law ( email )

5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
United States

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