The pool boy speaks!

The pool boy, Giancarlo Granda, who was entangled in a menage a trois with Jerry Falwell Jr. and Becki Falwell gives his side of the story to journalists. It’s sordid and depressing — everyone involved is self-centered and hypocritical and oblivious to their own unpleasantness. So, the Falwells picked up an attractive, well-built pool boy at a hotel for sexual encounters in which Jerry Jr. would watch Giancarlo have sex with Becki, and built it up into a many years long relationship with promises of helping Giancarlo get rich in real estate. Everyone is clueless. Jerry Jr. doesn’t think there’s anything peculiar about the head of an evangelical Christian “university” that strictly polices the sexual behavior of its students getting jinky in a three-way; the pool boy is shocked, shocked I tell you, that the Falwells just wanted him for sex.

More and more, Granda would not want to have sex with Becki. By 2013, he would call his sister and tell her that he “physically could not continue” having liaisons with the couple. But whenever he tried to pull away from Becki or tell her that he didn’t want to have sex, he recalls, Jerry would grow furious at her.

The moral majority scion would also threaten Granda, he says, telling him that he would send videos of them having sex to his family and girlfriend.

Becki, in turn, would beg Granda to sleep with her, reminding him of when “we went to bat for you” to buy him the hostel.

“I don’t want this to sound like I’m being forced,” Granda emphasizes to TPM, thinking back to how he felt at the time. “I want to take ownership: I’m gonna bang her.”

“But I always felt like if I stopped, I would be completely cut off,” he adds. “Not financially speaking — losing out on the family experience, which I cared more about than anything.”

It’s around here that Granda began to feel that his place in the Falwell family was conditioned on sex, a cold but persistent feeling that would nag at him throughout the year.

It’s fine with me if Jerry Jr. gets off on voyeurism and infidelity; I am unbothered if Becki enjoys the kind of open relationship that lets her get laid with multiple men; Granda is a willing, consenting participant in their activities. But man, I despise stupidity and dishonesty. Be open about it. Don’t do a wildly hedonistic thing while simultaneously bullying others out of doing likewise.

Also, it’s appalling how much money these people were throwing around. Did Granda seriously believe his penis was worth millions of dollars?


  1. Matt G says

    The kid’s penis may not be worth millions, but obviously Jerry’s vicarious sexual pleasure was worth plenty.

  2. robro says

    There are so many examples of these stern moralists living their kinky secrets while milking the saps who believe in them that it’s easy to suspect that others of this ilk have similar hidden pool boys. What I find particularly reprehensible, besides bamboozling gullible believers to buy their golden calf, is their push to enforce a phony puritanism that does actual harm to people, particularly women and people of color.

  3. bcw bcw says

    As with anyone else with a single asset worth millions, Granda should have thought about insurance.

  4. davidc1 says

    Only been on line since 2008 ,but in that short time i have noticed that every time a RWNJ speaks out about the evils of the gayness ,or pre marital rutting ,within a few months they are found in a motel room with either a young male companion ,or a young lady they have been mentoring .

  5. PaulBC says

    hemidactylus@4 I was thinking the same thing. There is a lot of projection going on with people who use “cuck” as an insult. I suspect white Evangelicals are the biggest porn consumers out there, though I don’t have the data.

  6. davidc1 says

    PS ,isn’t the stuff i mentioned known by the term ” Walking The Appalachian Trail”?
    After an excuse one naughty boy gave .

  7. Jake Wildstrom says

    The moral majority scion would also threaten Granda, he says, telling him that he would send videos of them having sex to his family and girlfriend.

    In his shoes I would have called that bluff. The Falwells had much more to lose from publicizing the affair than he did.

  8. PaulBC says

    Siggy@20 Eh, there’s a power differential, but seriously, the man was 20 years old. That’s young enough to be very naive, but old enough to sign plenty of legally binding contracts. It does sound like he was taken advantage of, but not in a way that’s rises to the level of outrage for me. He knew what was going on, and accepted remuneration. His interpretation may not have been perfect, but it sounds like consent to me. Would I see it different if he were a woman? I don’t think so, but I’ll defer to others on that.

    Maybe use Monica Lewinsky as a template. Was she a consenting partner or was she a victim due to the extreme power differential?

  9. PaulBC says

    Also, it’s a little like The Graduate except that Granda wasn’t putting off some sort of prestigious graduate fellowship, and Falwell, Jr. agreed to the whole thing instead of reacting like this. But still, it might have been instructive for Granda to watch ahead of time.

    Hey, do the Falwell’s have a daughter?

  10. says

    @PaulBC #10,
    I’m going to throw the book at you, and encourage you to read the definition of sexual coercion in the NISVS report, page 17:

    In NISVS, sexual coercion refers to unwanted vaginal, oral, or anal sex after being pressured in ways that included being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex or showed they were unhappy; feeling pressured by being lied to, being told promises that were untrue, having someone threaten to end a relationship or spread rumors; and sexual pressure due to someone using their influence or authority.

    Granda’s case is textbook. And while Granda does not use the word “coercion” he does refer to grooming explicitly.

    And I have news for you about Monica Lewinsky too. Very typical of conservative people to look at sexual improprieties, and focus exclusively on adultery while ignoring coercion.

  11. PaulBC says

    Siggy@12 If he has a legal claim, he can take it to court. It is very difficult for me to see him purely as the victim here, though I agree that he was victimized. I can’t say I think highly of any of these people (and I’ll add Bill and Monica to that list).

  12. unclefrogy says

    But man, I despise stupidity and dishonesty. Be open about it. Don’t do a wildly hedonistic thing while simultaneously bullying others out of doing likewise.

    that is the thing with all of these great moral leaders spouting platitudes and moral judgment all the time it is mainly hypocrisy and lies Those who make the most noise are guilty of corruption if not the specific offense then numerous others most always connected with money and power.
    uncle frogy

  13. says

    I side-eye the subject-change to legal action. That’s a common refrain used to dismiss victims of all kinds of abuse–“then why didn’t they bring it to court?”

    Victimhood doesn’t require innocence, and isn’t really about innocence. Granda took a devil’s bargain, accepting gifts without seeing the strings attached. But I think we need to realize that victims often miss or ignore things that seem obvious to us in retrospect. I don’t blame Granda for taking years to recognize the abusive dynamics of his relationship.

  14. PaulBC says

    Siggy@15 FFS I did not sign up for a pissing match. OK, you’re totally right. I agree with everything you said.

    Can it please end now?

  15. PaulBC says

    Siggy@15 Let me be more precise. Your analysis may be accurate in every way. I’m not only not prepared to dispute it, but I’m coming along to your view. Nevertheless, I don’t give a rat’s ass about Granda, though he’s a step up from the Falwell’s. Nothing will make me care. I do not care.

  16. says

    Granda is just some guy I learned about this morning, but yet another case study in how the general public cannot recognize sexual coercion when it’s right in front of them. I regularly try to educate people on this subject, that’s why I have these quotes handy. It’s nothing personal.

  17. PaulBC says

    Siggy@18 OK, fine. Consider me educated, I suppose. I am not sure that it changes anything materially in my view of what happened. Yes, he was a 20 year old “kid” (though legally adult) and they treated him like shit. (Or if you prefer, engaged in sexual coercion. I don’t dispute your characterization in any way.)

    I still would say that if there is anything legally actionable here, that should be adjudicated in the courtroom, not on PZ’s blog. I despise the Falwells. Do I despise them enough to feel much pity for Granda? It would take some work there. If I knew him personally and liked him then of course I would. I would hope that my own kids when they are 20 would have the sense not to get involved in something like this in the first place. He showed poor judgment. He is also a victim. OK, that describes a lot of people. Get in line.

    E.g., if I were to find out that Sean Hannity was carjacked, that they held a gun to his head and he shit his pants, robbed him, and left him on the road after taking whatever jerk-ass car he owns, I would concede (a) a crime was committed (b) Sean Hannity was the victim (c) as a citizen I hope they find the find the carjackers and bring them to justice (d) serves him right, that fucker.

    In Granda’s case I have no grudge. However, I hope my kids will show better judgment than he did when they are young adults.

  18. says

    @PaulBC 19
    This seems similar to the social pressure against discussion about other people who were socially pressured, Grace and Aziz Ansari come to mind.
    This is not a courtroom. There is nothing in litigation that can’t be in public discussion. From what I can see.

  19. PaulBC says

    Brony, Social Justice Cenobite@20 Yes, it can be discussed. Sorry, I certainly got myself stuck in what was intended to be a throwaway comment in @10. Now how do I back out?

    First, do I care much about Giancarlo Granda? Not really. But if he does have a recourse against the Falwells, then go for it. First, it’s true he was exploited (however you want to define it, as sexual coercion or anything else) and second, I’d love to see them take a hit.

    I was mugged once when I lived in Baltimore. Obviously, I was the victim. At the same time, it caused me to reevaluate my own sense of street smarts, or at least my confidence. I’m not sure I changed my habits much afterwards once the shock wore off. I would try to convey that understanding to anyone in the same situation. When you’re the victim, the onus of guilt is on the attacker, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn better judgment in the future and how to protect yourself.

    I had intended to drop this, but since I’m back, I’ll add that what strikes me as significant here is the power imbalance rather than anything sexual that happened. I can see this kind of exploitation easily happening in non-sexual instances. Suppose I were rich and chose to throw my money around to “hangers on” in way that was non-sexual. Why I don’t know. Maybe I’m kind of a nerd and want an entry into “cool” social circles. So I ply them with gifts up the point of establishing dependency. For the sake of argument, also assume no drugs are involved either. I also promise them shit I can’t possibly deliver (entree into some profession and I’m a good enough liar that I can convince them).

    Could this really happen? You decide. It might be a little far-fetched, but I can totally picture someone claiming to offer lucrative certifications (like Trump University did) and just stringing along desperate people. Cults do it too. Often it does wind up being sexual, but that doesn’t seem logically necessary.

    Exploitation, right? I mean what isn’t somebody trying to exploit another person? A normal job has that element. Say you get a sign-on bonus. Now you’re stuck for a year or you have to give it up. What if you already spent it?

    So while I don’t dispute your characterization, I am wondering how much to care except to think of it as an object lesson, and maybe something to talk to my kids about. In short, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Nobody’s going to offer you a lot of money unless you provide them of something of value to them. If you have any doubt what commodity they’re buying, it’s probably you.

    People suck. They turn others into commodities all the time, and the more “successful” they are, the more they do it.

  20. PaulBC says

    Another move reference that comes to mind: Gods and Monsters. I really liked this movie. It’s probably my favorite Brendan Fraser role. James Whale is obviously an exploiter though he’s played sympathetically by Ian McKellen. Maybe this would have been useful for Granda to watch before getting involved with the Falwells.

  21. PaulBC says

    Brony, Social Justice Cenobite@23 Really, not relevant at all? I was under the impression we were human beings attempting to communicate with each other.

    Can you be a little more clear? What was the observation? This?


    That’s not consent, that’s grooming and sexual coercion.


    I’ll shut up.

  22. John Morales says

    Siggy @18:

    Granda is just some guy I learned about this morning, but yet another case study in how the general public cannot recognize sexual coercion when it’s right in front of them.

    Yeah, right. A poor but buff guy gets to bone a rich woman with the approval of her husband, and gets great monetary benefit out of it. After a while, he is no longer so keen, but hey… he had a tiger by the tail.

    PZ put it better: “everyone involved is self-centered and hypocritical and oblivious to their own unpleasantness”.

  23. says

    @PaulBC 24
    My entire #20 is the observation.
    I’m clarifying that you caring about my characterization is irrelivant to me making the characterization.

    When you say things like “how do I back out”, and refer to a “pissing match” with respect to concerns about sexual abuse victims you act like it’s a bad thing.

  24. PaulBC says

    The moral majority scion would also threaten Granda, he says, telling him that he would send videos of them having sex to his family and girlfriend.

    This is blackmail anyway. I had not read that before posting @10.

  25. PaulBC says

    Brony, Social Justice Cenobite@26 It’s a pissing match when I basically agree and have to get into a dispute over terminology. In fact, I have no power over the situation. I also read it holistically and without disagreeing with you or Siggy, my big take-away is still “Don’t be like any of these people.”

    I would like to back out of any defense of what I wrote in @10. Right, it was not “consent”, and yes, Granda was exploited. I think it’s reasonable for me to state an intent not to continue to defend something that I had not thought out very well. I still have other thoughts as I work out how to react to this.

  26. PaulBC says


    PaulBC, sometimes you are cringy.

    As opposed to those blessed souls who are never cringy. Maybe you meant “often”?

  27. John Morales says

    No, Paul, I meant sometimes. Mostly, you’re reasonable, and a proper freethinker.

    I vaguely recall previously telling you to determine your own convictions, if not, I’m doing it now. Or you could worry about the opprobrium from other commenters, I suppose… which is a form of moral coercion.

  28. PaulBC says

    John Morales@31 I think I made my position pretty clear, at least in @21. It is better thought out than my “hot take” in @11 though I am almost prepared to defend that. I would just have to phrase it differently and retract something about “consent.”

    I think you can make a clear, factual case that Granda was exploited and has a genuine grievance against the Falwells. Beyond that, exactly what anyone wants to call it doesn’t interest me all that much, nor do analogies between Grace and Aziz Ansari. It does interest me as an object lesson in what not to do and more concretely what I would not want my kids to do (they’re teens now, one entering college next year).

  29. PaulBC says

    I mean my “hot take” in @10. In fact, I stand by @11 my analogy to The Graduate, which is at least somewhat relevant in this context, if not the same scenario. And Benjamin Braddock is clearly being manipulated in that case.

  30. PaulBC says

    Brony, Social Justice Cenobite@32

    You don’t have to do anyhing.

    Oh fuck off.

    And yes, I had to say that.

  31. hemidactylus says

    So after Jerry allegedly watched whatever may have taken place then what? And how does it figure into his daddy targeting lewd publications that dovetailed with similar scenarios depicted? Is daddy’s soul vexed? Why wasn’t Liberty changed into a swinger party school (Libertine) from its hypocritically moralistic repressive status? Why do I have to be the gadfly asking the most pressing questions here?

  32. PaulBC says


    Why wasn’t Liberty changed into a swinger party school (Libertine) from its hypocritically moralistic repressive status?

    He had a built-in constituency with Evangelicals. Why mess with a good grift? Also, it’s probably a lot more fun for the authoritarian type to run a school where you get to control every aspect of the students’ social lives. And even more fun when you know those rules don’t apply to you.

  33. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @28:

    Siggy is being sanctimonious, and you’re kowtowing

    That’s not what I see. I just see you being insufferably smug and supercilious. As usual.

  34. =8)-DX says

    By the description alone, that is very explicitly not “willing and consensual”. It’s clearly emotional blackmail (to perform sex) despite expressed distress and lack of interest (so disregarding consent). Pity he couldn’t get out sooner. =(

  35. =8)-DX says

    jeeze, and hasn’t this pulled out the worst of comments, from classics like “nothing will make me care. I do not care” (proceeds to write endless comments clarifying how much is not cared about, in detail), to consent-ignoring statements saying adults can’t be groomed or insinuating nasty people being abused is fine.

    Blegh. Do better.

  36. says

    @John Morales #28,
    The claim of “grooming” comes directly from Granda, and he’s not specific about what made it grooming. So, like, it’s not a claim you can confirm or disconfirm by looking at Wikipedia. I don’t see that anything else you’ve said in this thread needs response.

  37. John Morales says

    Relax, Siggy. You have your opinion, fine.

    From the linked piece:

    But where others saw bible thumpers with an axe to grind against modernity, Granda says he saw a “hot cougar,” an outlet for his own business idea, and, eventually, a second family.

    An interesting form of ‘grooming’, that.

  38. Silentbob says


    @ =8)-DX

    Hey I saw you a while back on a different blog standing up for trans rights by yourself in an extremely hostile transphobic environment and I just wanted to say kudos. (I can’t comment there.) They say real morality is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking, so well done.


  39. PaulBC says

    =8)-DX@41 Yes, I’m a truly terrible person. Sorry to offend you by being honest about my contempt for the Falwells and anyone in their circle.

  40. says

    I may go back to an old Aziz Ansari thread here at Pharyngula where an old poster by the name of Vivic was literally driven from this community by people who did not like others pointing out Ansari’s behavior and the dynamics. At the moment you remind me more of those people.

  41. says

    @Brony #47,
    Yeah I remember saying the exact same stuff about Aziz Ansari. Vivec left because of that? Commenting communities being what they are, I never know when somebody has definitively left. But I remember Vivec as a person who could set boundaries, and good for them.

  42. says

    For anyone who made it this far through the thread, I wrote a short post about it. Sexual violence is like drowning, it does not look like how you expect. I point out examples like this so you can readjust your expectations.

  43. PaulBC says


    You aren’t sorry. You are using sarcasm

    Now there’s a perceptive fellow.

    At the moment you remind me more of those people.

    Is that an “observation”, or is it “your feelings about me”? Lemme get this right. My feelings about you are irrelevant but your feelings are relevant, or that is just an observation, arrived at judiciously?

    I take back any reluctance to engage in a pissing match, though.

    When it comes to people (as opposed to the things I really understand), my mind often works in simple analogies and adages. “You lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.” Whether you gave consent to the fleas is besides the point.

    Or take Hansel and Gretel. So many take-aways*. “It’s evil to throw children into the oven and eat them.” (True but obvious) How about “If you find a candy house in the woods, you might want to ask yourself if it’s a trap.” (Should be obvious, but sadly not it would seem.) Granda found his candy house, and shame on the evil Falwells who put him in a cage to fatten him up, but he still showed woeful lack of judgment even for a 20 year old. (And to be clear, that is not sarcasm. The Falwells are evil people who exploited a naif. If I believed in hell I would believe in a special place for them.)

    So yeah, I am sorry (sarcasm) that I remind you of some bad person I’ve never met. I will stand by everything I wrote accept my claim @10 that Granda gave consent, though I consider that mostly besides the point.

    *A more interesting one involves H&G’s parents: “Poverty can drive normal people to commit atrocities.” But it’s not the relevant one here. You can dismiss the wisdom of our forbears, but as little as they knew about science, they were experts in identifying all the ways human beings can act like monsters to each other. I doubt they missed a single one of them.

  44. says

    @Siggy 48
    The lesson I took was make sure people don’t suppress discussion about sexual harassment and abuse. I’m still processing how I’m going to deal with the suppression of claims about Biden. I’m sure backing off a bit in the months leading up helped. This culture is sick and people need to engage with their discomfort. It’s like coddling children, but I have some lessons I’ve had to relearn too.

  45. PaulBC says

    Brony, Social Justice Cenobite@46

    how it’s so terrible that you are getting criticism

    Now where exactly did I whine about that? Please criticize my comments. It’s at least a little instructive (and no, that’s not sarcasm). I think that you and Siggy are both coming at complicated situation from a dogmatic stance, addressed (I suppose) at people who will insist that no abuse was involved, just adults “getting jinky.”

    The fact that a young person was misled and sexually groomed by a creepy “power couple.” isn’t really the element that caught my attention. What caught my attention was the cautionary tale. I’ll read Siggy’s post now and (probably) not try to respond.