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Falwell Will 'Try to Be a Good Boy' After Unzipped Pic Backlash

Jerry Falwell

The anti-LGBTQ+ evangelical leader sparked controversy for posting a hypocritical photograph.


UPDATE: As of Friday, and following the release of this photograph, Jerry Falwell Jr. is taking an indefinite leave of absence from Liberty University president.

Jerry Falwell Jr. is very sorry he posted a photograph of himself with his fly down on Instagram.

"I've apologized to everybody," Falwell said Wednesday on the Morninglineshow on WLNI, a Lynchburg, Va., radio station. "And I've promised my kids I'm going to try to be -- I'm gonna try to be a good boy from here on out."

The president of Liberty University went viral with the now-deleted pic, in which he has his arm around a woman who is not his wife on a yacht. Both have their flies undone and midriffs exposed, and Falwell is holding a glass of dark liquid.

A student at the evangelical Christian school Falwell helms would likely be penalized for the scene; Liberty requires "appropriateness" and "modesty" of its attendees in its dress code and also forbids viewing media with nudity or having sex outside of "biblically ordained" marriage. The photograph drew criticisms of hypocrisy and inappropriateness from liberals and even some conservatives like Meghan McCain.

In the radio interview, Falwell defended the event as a "costume party" that was held "just in good fun" while "we were on vacation." He offered the following explanation for the strange scene:

"She's pregnant, she couldn't get her pants up, and ... I had on a pair of jeans I haven't worn in a long time so I couldn't get mine zipped either," Falwell said. "And so ... I just put my belly out like hers."

Falwell stumbled through his words in the morning interview, leading some on social media to question his sobriety.

Falwell called the woman his "wife's assistant."Politico identified her as Kathleen Stone, who listed Liberty University as her employer in her Facebook profile.

Falwell is Donald Trump's leading evangelical cheerleader, and his early endorsement of the Republican in the 2016 election helped sway other conservative Christians to support a known adulterer for president.

Other "racy" photographs reportedly tie him to Trump. Michael Cohen -- formerly the president's personal attorney -- said he helped keep "a bunch of photographs, personal photographs" of Falwell and his wife from becoming public in a taped conversation obtained by Reuters in 2019.

Falwell routinely demeans LGBTQ+ people. In 2019, he also had a number of curious real estate dealings with young men, including a former pool boy and a personal trainer.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.