Jerry Falwell Jr.’s years of LGBTQ hypocrisy end with the splash of a pool boy
The Daily Beast
August 25, 2020
Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife’s alleged affair with ex-pool boy Giancarlo Granda reveals Falwell’s hypocritical moralizing about LGBTQ people for the vile sham it always was.
A pool boy allegedly fucked his wife as he sat, watched, and enjoyed every second.
For such a virulently anti-gay, Christian conservative, props to Jerry Falwell Jr. for at least serving up a note of pure Jackie Collins camp in the scandal that has led to his reported resignation as president of Liberty University, although on Monday night he first claimed to be on “indefinite leave,” then later said he really had resigned after all.
“Becki [Falwell’s wife] and I developed an intimate relationship, and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Giancarlo Granda told Reuters of his affair with the couple.
Now 29, Granda told Reuters that these liaisons took place “multiple times per year” from 2012 to 2018 at hotels in Miami and New York, and at the Falwells’ home in Bedford County, Virginia. Granda showed Reuters texts and emails that showed the alleged trajectory of the affair.
Michael Bowe, a lawyer for Falwell, first told Reuters the evangelical leader “categorically denies everything you indicated you intend to publish about him.”
Next, the lawyer claimed Granda had tried to extort money from the couple. “Granda denies any such intent, saying he was seeking to negotiate a buyout from a business arrangement he says he had with the couple,” Reuters reported. Falwell has described it as a “fatal attraction type situation.” Residents of Bedford County, with the way this story is going, better keep those bunny rabbits safely under lock and key.
Whoever speaks to him next, ask Falwell who he likes to have sex with. Ask him what he masturbates over. Ask him who he masturbates over. Ask him about Granda’s ass pumping away in front of him as Granda fucked Becki. What and who was he into at that moment?
Ask him all about it. Ask him about his sexuality. Ask him about his sex life. Don’t worry about seeming tasteless or intrusive, because Jerry Falwell Jr. has been tastelessly intruding on LGBTQ people—apparently disgusted by what they do in bed—all his life. Judge, judge, and sex-shame some more: this has been Falwell’s chosen way to promote himself and his beliefs at the expense of LGBTQ people’s safety and equality. Now he may get to know just a small dose of what that judge-and-shame spin-cycle feels like.
Falwell is not the first right-wing hypocrite, quick to judge others while apparently sinning on the sly. Judgment in these circumstances seems not only appropriate, but also karmic. Or to quote the Bible (Matthew, Chapter 7): “Do not judge, or you too will be judged… For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Falwell has actively sought to judge and hurt LGBTQ people for the duration of his life—just like his late father, Jerry Falwell Sr., who founded the “Moral Majority” in 1979, and spent his life whipping up as much hatred as he could against LGBTQ people.
One significant strand of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ campaigning today, which goes under the soft-sounding nom de plume of “religious freedom,” piloted by Mike Pence and his cohorts, springs direct from the Falwell Sr. template.
Falwell Sr. contended, “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
LGBTQ people, and pro-choice advocates, he said, were responsible for the September 11 attacks: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’”
Falwell Sr. and his supporters argued that gays preyed on kids, and that LGBTQ acceptance would lead to nothing less than the destruction of America. In his later years, Falwell Sr. moved to a kind of “love the sinner, hate the sin” position, but his outright bigotry remains his more memorable trademark.
If it sounds wildly absurd to a millennial generation there was nothing funny or absurd about it at a time when gays were dying, alone and stigmatized, of AIDS thanks to a Reagan administration that cared more about the evangelicals Falwell spouted his poison for than it did for dying gay Americans.
Back then, there were no positive images of anything gay in pop culture. A gay kiss on TV led to advertising boycotts. Falwell was one of the chief bullies of a one-sided anti-LGBTQ hate playground—ready to extinguish even the mildest flame of social acceptance with ferocious gales of hate.
Just as Falwell Sr. quickly put the “Moral Majority” in pole position within the Republican Party—where its evangelical base resides today—Falwell Jr. has been vocal in his support of Donald Trump. He has proudly continued holding his father’s torch of anti-LGBTQ hatred aloft.
Just like his father, Falwell Jr. is apparently fine with hating LGBTQ people, while being completely non-judgmental about any number of ungodly misbehaviors and scandals involving Republicans—such as a leader who proudly boasts of grabbing women by their genitals. And so much more.
But this alliance isn’t about a true expression of faith. How could it be with a president of America who openly mocks religion, while courting its most fervent followers, who holds a Bible upside down in front of a church, after having peaceful protesters violently set upon?
This relationship between evangelicals and Republican leaders in 2020 is based on the same thing it was based on when Falwell Sr. founded the Moral Majority: political expediency. It is about Falwell and evangelicals merrily making a deal with the best devil who can advance their prejudice-filled, discriminatory agenda, and the Republicans leaning in to their hatred for easily bankable votes.
Just like his father, Falwell Jr. has stoked his hatred of LGBTQ people personally and professionally. Just like his father he has had influence within the Republican Party. His anti-LGBTQ, conservative ramblings are not just the province of a preacher. He has access to the kinds of policymakers who scheme to ensure LGBTQ people are kept as second-class citizens under the law. He has done all he can to make LGBTQ people as unequal and stigmatized as they were in his father’s era.
Falwell Jr. certainly seems less disciplined than his father. A 2019 Politico exposé painted a portrait of a “dictator” who presided over Liberty University in a “culture of fear.”
A few weeks ago came the picture of him with his pants unzipped, his arm around his wife’s assistant. This Falwell Jr. claimed was in jest, saying the picture was taken at a costume party during a family vacation.
Granda told Reuters that he feels the Falwells preyed upon him. “Whether it was immaturity, naïveté, instability, or a combination thereof, it was this ‘mindset’ that the Falwells likely detected in deciding that I was the ideal target for their sexual escapades,” he told Reuters.
As Falwell Jr. faces questions of who he is attracted to and his own sexual morality, he may do so in the hypocrisy-streaked light of the litany of anti-gay remarks he has made in the past.
Becki, apparently after having sex with the pool boy in front of her husband, had extremely strong feelings about the God-given gender of her grand-daughter, and how she should be brought up.
“She’s our granddaughter, and we’re raising her as a girl,” she said in 2019. “We’re not letting her have a choice. God makes the choice of what the babies are going to be and God decided she would be a girl.”
Falwell Sr. talked about the “gay lifestyle,” and of homosexuality as a sin. As GLAAD has shown, Falwell Jr. has kept the family tradition going—for example, by offering the anti-gay “Miss California” Carrie Prejean a Liberty University scholarship in 2009.
In 2013, Falwell Jr. said he did not want the university to receive federal government aid if it meant having to sign up to anti-LGBTQ discrimination rules. “We’re now in a financial position that would allow us to simply exit the program. … If it became necessary, that’s what we would do.”
Falwell Jr. also gave a supportive promotional quote for a book about a man who supposedly “gave up homosexuality for God” by saying: “If ever a story needed to be told, this one does. Jonathan’s frank and fearless testimony will serve to offer hope to those struggling with this sin and understanding for the rest of us.”
Falwell Jr. has written: “Liberty University is pro-life and believes that marriage between one man and one woman provides the best environment for children. Liberty University will not lend its’ name or financial support to any student group that advances causes contrary to its mission…Liberty University will not lend its’ name or financial support to undermine marriage or to promote abortion.”
How does these sweeping judgments of others read now to Falwell Jr., mired in scandal himself?
Perhaps his father’s words can prove instructive. “I don’t believe anyone begins a homosexual,” Falwell Sr. said in 2000. “They begin the way God made them: male, female, with all the dispositions that are built in. If they choose to be bisexual or transgendered [his word] or homosexual, they’re human beings, and they have the ability to do it. But as a Christian, biblically, scripture makes very clear that it’s an immoral position.” He judged his friend Mel White for leaving his wife to “go off into the homosexual lifestyle.”
Maybe Falwell Jr. will consider how harshly his father judged White in 2000, although one somehow doubts it as he scurries around trying to salvage his Liberty University presidency. But the echoes between what his father said of White and “sexual gratification” must echo hard for his son right now.
“The horrible thing that Mel has done, and I’ve said so to his face, is that when a man leaves his wife and children for another woman, he has done a terrible thing,” Falwell Sr. said in 2000. “He has crushed lives and left behind wreckage that he can never correct. God can forgive him, of course…
“But when you leave and go off into the homosexual lifestyle, you have said, ‘My sexual gratification is more important than those children, that woman, those grandchildren. As long as I feel good and I have my sexual gratification, so be it.’ That is so selfish. It is so wrong… It is not a terrible thing for a man to have bad desires and bad drives. Temptation is not sin—yielding to temptation is sin. He didn’t have to yield to that temptation.”
Falwell Jr. has now “yielded to temptation” himself, of course. Will he feel spiritually torn, or is he just—like many a hypocrite before him—now exposed, found out, and desperate to spin some gold out of the self-spun toxic thread enmeshing him?
It doesn’t matter, because Falwell Jr. is now the sinner, and according to his father’s own rigorously stated principles of divine justice he must be judged as such.
When the interviewer in the 2000 interview said homosexuality was found in every civilization and religion in the world, Falwell Sr. replied, “You’ll also find bank robbers, drug addicts, and alcoholics.” The “counseling” he said his church offered LGBTQ people was that “God loves them as equally as everyone else, but that what they’re doing is wrong… What you’re doing is wrong. It’s going to destroy you. It’s going to destroy other lives. And if you want out, we can help you through the gospel of Christ.”
Obviously now, according to his father’s own words, Falwell Jr. can only seek salvation the same way. Perhaps his church should enforce upon him a rigorous program of repentance and renunciation as his father wanted LGBTQ people to undertake?
Now, Falwell Jr. finds himself in the same position as his father saw his gay friend White, who was, said Falwell Sr. “caught and exposed… it’s a terrible thing to leave behind the wreckage of a family, just so that I can sleep with somebody I want to sleep with. Big deal. You don’t have to sleep with anybody… The idea that you must be able to fulfill your sexual desires… is totally self-centered… It just doesn’t fit in the context of kindness and fairness and love and concern and commitment…
“Life is supposed to be lived for God and for others. A little gratification, that’s fine, too. But amazingly, when you put God and family first, you do get gratification.”
What fine words. Now, 20 years later, Falwell Jr. might also contend that “gratification” for him also came from sitting, watching, and relishing every second of his wife getting fucked by the pool boy.