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XBiz Interviews Larry Flynt: Part 2

XBiz Interviews Larry Flynt: Part 2

October 28, 2004
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" You can take a photograph and run it on the front page of the local newspaper and it is simply the goriest photograph of a mutilated, decapitated body. You might even win a Pulitzer Prize for it. But if you want a photograph placed in that same newspaper of two people making love, they might send you to jail. So what does that say about the priorities of a society that condones violence, but condemns sex? "

In a continuation of XBiz' fireside chat with porn king Larry Flynt, the publishing mogul described what he sees as the wave of the future for the adult Internet community, how the government is poised for a second control grab at the Net, and how survival of the fittest in the porn world is all about quality content.

Sponsored By Epoch
XBiz's Lori Z and Brian Evans sit down with legendary porn mogul Larry Flynt for an in-depth Q & A on the future of the adult entertainment industry.

When did you first take Hustler online?


Has it enhanced the brand?

Dramatically. When my first monthly check from the Internet was $10,000, I never knew it would go from there to over a million dollars a month.

Where does your online presence fall within all the other divisions of Hustler?

By far our biggest revenue for years is our video division. We are one of the content providers to satellite videos throughout the world, and we sell to retail stores throughout the country as well.

What is the biggest risk for people who take on the Internet as a platform for content?

Restricting access to children. There are some great browser systems out there that work very well. One in particular that I like is called "Net Nanny," which pretty much blocks out any material that you don't want your children to have access to. A lot of people don't mind what adults view, but they get very uptight by what children are exposed to. And they have every right. I've never said that our magazine was for children or that what I do on the Internet is for children, but we really can't limit adult reading habits to what is fit for children or we will have nothing left but "Alice in Wonderland" and "Little Red Riding Hood."

Do you feel that the online adult industry is hitting a saturation point or do you feel that there is still growth potential, and if so where?

There is still growth potential for quality providers. I think that it is also important to acknowledge that there are thousands of websites out there and the only ones that are really making money are the adult sites.

The sites that have branding and quality behind them?

Yeah, they've got to have quality, and brand helps.

Is the Internet considered the new battleground for First Amendment rights?

I definitely feel that in the next four or five years there will be some major Supreme Court decisions handed down involving regulations of the Internet. I don't know what this will encompass, but no doubt, the Internet will be party to this legislation. I think that everyone in America has already pretty much decided that what they read or view in the privacy of their own home is their personal business. So, beyond that, the other question that we spoke about earlier, about protecting children, we've got to be able to find a foolproof way to do that.

What is your vision of the online adult industry in the coming years? What would be your ideal scenario for growth?

Well, if it is going to grow, it can only do so with quality content. That's a pre-requisite. If you put up nothing but garbage, you're not going to attract any customers.

Where do you see the future of porn on the Internet? Do you see diversification online besides affiliate programs or traffic trades and things of that nature?

I think we need to discuss the beasts, the animals so to speak, about why there is a demand for adult material and will this always be the case? Well, there's nothing more political than sex, and I can understand why, because the church has had its hand on our crotch for over 2,000 years. And the government is exceedingly moving in that direction, figuring if they can control our pleasure center, they can control us.

If more women are consuming porn, then it's going to affect content and what you produce, isn't it?

The sexual revolution is very liberating to women. Men are the same old conservative knuckleheads they have always been. The sexual revolution gave women permission to enjoy sex and it's fun to watch a woman come into the store and buy a deluxe vibrator and walk up to the cash register and slam it down, no shame, no guilt. But a guy who wants to buy a sex toy or something will stick it inside his coat and walk up to the cash register and kind of slip it to the girl. Women have no shame and I love that, I don't think they should have shame.

Do you think that the future of porn is on the Internet?

Yes and no. Adult magazines have been hit hard by the Internet because if you can download it onto your computer why go to the news stand to buy it? But we still sell a lot of magazines because there are people who are still interested in holding that magazine in their hands. Now, I think that there will always be people that want to select their own videotapes, their own items from the store, rather than buying them off the Internet. But to answer your question more specifically, yes, I think that the market is going that way, and the majority of people are going to be getting what they want from the Internet.

Do you think that wireless and PDA's will be the next outlet for you?

I think so. We signed a deal with a company in Europe that is very big. One thing that people don't know is that this new technology is going to bring a serious invasion of privacy and it's going to be something that is almost unavoidable.

Do you mind if we ask you a couple of questions about Acacia?

You know what, I haven’t been briefed on that. We have an attorney representing us in the matter.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the online industry as it relates to Hustler?

Not really. I hope I gave you some information that’s beneficial.

You have been extremely insightful.

Send me a copy, I’ll edit it for you...

Flynt won a landmark Supreme Court decision on Feb. 24, 1988 (Hustler v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46), after having been sued by Jerry Falwell over an offensive ad parody in Hustler that featured Falwell having sex with his mother in an out-house.

Flynt also came face-to-face with the law in 1983 when he refused to disclose the source of surveillance tapes that had embarrassed the FBI. Flynt arrived at his trial wearing the American flag as a human diaper. He was subsequently jailed for six months.

On June 22, 2000, Flynt officially opened the Hustler Casino, a card room located in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena.

Politically, Flynt's magazines defend a mixture of liberal and libertarian positions. During the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton in 1998, he offered a million dollars for evidence about sexual affairs of Republican lawmakers. His investigations eventually led to the resignation of incoming House speaker Bob Livingston.

Flynt's autobiography "An Unseemly Man: My Life as a Pornographer, Pundit, and Social Outcast" became the basis for a feature film in 1996 starring Woody Harrelson as Flynt.

A diehard Democrat, Flynt was a candidate in the 2003 California recall election to oust Governor Gray Davis from his second term in office. Flynt placed 7th in a field of 135 candidates, receiving more than 25,000 votes and trailing just behind gubernatorial candidate Arianna Huffington.

These days, like everything from Starbucks to Ivory Soap, Flynt is expanding the Hustler brand aggressively, within both the adult video and Internet industries. There are currently eight Hustler Hollywood retail stores in the U.S., and Flynt is about to expand overseas with a store in London.


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