Porn publisher Larry Flynt announced yesterday that he had acquired photos of private Lynch parading topless in front of military colleagues and immediately announced plans to publish them in an upcoming issue of Hustler.
A Larry Flynt spokesperson told XBiz that the porn mogul has since decided not to publish the photos and will instead keep them under private ownership.
"Larry decided not to run the pictures," the spokesperson said. "He had very mixed feelings about whether to bring down a war hero and decided against it, basically."
Originally, Flynt's plan was to debunk the fairly broad media portrayal of Lynch as a national hero. Publishing the photos would have been a major strike against the Bush Administration, which has been accused of force-feeding the Lynch story to the American people in order to enforce a positive feeling about the war in Iraq.
A vocal critic of the Iraq conflict, Flynt has been quoted as saying that Lynch was merely a pawn in the U.S. Government's war propaganda campaign.
The Flynt spokesperson told XBiz that the photos were passed along to Hustler from someone who served with Lynch in the war. The photos show Lynch semi-nude during her station at Fort Bliss, Tex. in the company of male soldiers. In one of the photos Lynch is only wearing a thong.
According to the Flynt camp, the photos were closely examined by experts to determine that the woman was in fact Lynch herself.
"You think I'm going to publish nude pics that aren't her?" Flynt told the New York Daily News. "I like owning my company…I'm not interested in bashing Jessica Lynch, who really was a victim in this," Flynt continued. "Everyone wanted a hero from this war."
According to the spokesperson, the photos were very "innocent" and were most likely taken of Lynch prior to being shipped out to Iraq.
The Flynt camp also told XBiz that many of the news stories running about the nude Lynch photos were filled with inaccuracies. In particular that the Lynch photos would have been published in the February issue of Hustler, when in fact publishing lead time would have pushed them up to the March or April issue.
"His intentions for buying the pictures in the first place were to publish them, but Larry has a big heart," the spokesperson told XBiz. "And eventually he figured that they would be safer in his hands than in anybody else's."
Lynch's life story was the recent subject of an NBC movie that garnered 14.9 million viewers. A book on the Jessica Lynch story was also just released by Alfred Knopf publishers, and Lynch was honored at the American Museum of Natural History for Glamour magazine's 2003 salute to the "Women of the Year."