Another shoe drops in the Falwell saga

In October of last year I wrote about the puzzling case involving the then-head of Liberty University Jerry Falwell, Jr, his wife, and their strange business dealings with some people, and said that there was clearly something going on behind the scenes. Today comes news that clarifies what was going on and it involves sex and blackmail.

Powerful evangelical leader and close Trump ally Jerry Falwell Jr has said that his wife’s ex-lover tried to blackmail them by contacting the media with “false claims” about their relationship.

Falwell’s statement to the Washington Examiner took place amid his indefinite suspension as head of the conservative evangelical Liberty University, which came several days after he shared a photo of himself with his pants unzipped while aboard a yacht.

In the 1,200 word statement Falwell opened up about the impact of the scandal on his life. “It was like living on a roller coaster,” Falwell said, calling the alleged blackmail attempt a “‘fatal attraction’ type situation”.

In his statement, Falwell described the evolution of his wife’s affair and emotional aftermath – which came to a breaking point amid alleged blackmail threats. Falwell said that he and his wife, Becki, met “an ambitious young man who was working at our hotel and was saving up his money to go to school” during a vacation some eight years ago.

They urged him to pursue an education and career and were “impressed by his initiative in suggesting a local real estate opportunity”. Falwell said his family members invested in a property, including the man in this transaction, believing that he could manage it. Falwell’s family grew close to the man and his family, he claimed.

“Shortly thereafter, Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved – it was nonetheless very upsetting to learn about,” Fallwell said.

Falwell did not name his wife’s lover. But on Monday a former business partner, Giancarlo Granda, gave an interview to Reuters in which he said that he had an affair with Becki Falwell, which involved Jerry Falwell watching them have sex.

Granda denied any attempt at blackmail. “Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda said in the interview.

Granda told Reuters that friendship with the Falwells eventually soured in part because he wanted to dissolve his ties with the couple and fell into a business dispute with them.

The Board of Trustees of Liberty University says they are still evaluating whether to have Falwell continue as president of the university. In these cases, once started, shoes keep dropping like crazy so I think it is safe to assume that their final decision will be a “Hell, no!” Ok, not with the word hell since they are a pious group, but you get the idea.

I notice that Falwell, one of the earliest and most ardent and vocal supporters of Trump in 2016 who brought along other evangelicals with him, is not on the speaker’s list for this week’s Republican convention though he was a featured speaker last time. I wonder why?


  1. brucegee1962 says

    Gee, like I just commented with your last post about the Conways: family values party!
    Let’s not forget the Trumps in that, as well.
    Does anyone wonder if Donald may be feeling a bit nervous when Melania gives her speech tonight, and the eyes of the nation are upon her, just in case she decides to go off-script?

  2. Mano Singham says


    It looks like the Board is trying to get him to resign by leaking these stories so that they do not have to actually fire him but he is refusing to take the hint.

  3. says

    What we have here is a man with money and power (but I repeat myself) deciding he could do whatever he wanted because he was immune from the kind of reckoning that happens so often to those ordinary people. In this case he was wrong but whatever -- the details always titillate us, but the main story is depressingly familiar.
    People being corrupted by power? This is but today’s installment in this long-running and never-ending story.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    “Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved”

    How very odd to include those last six words. It’s almost as though he knew EXACTLY what allegations to pre-emptively deny.

    He might as well have said “I’ve stopped using a bamboo cane to beat my wife” -- it’s suspiciously specific.

  5. says

    @Reginald Selkirk:

    After reports of his denial of any resignation, a rabid right-wing defender (who works for the same Washington Examiner that published his self-serving letter blaming everything on his wife and Granda that neglected to mention that he would watch them have sex and masturbate) named Siraj Hashmi sent out the single most unintentionally funny bit of writing I’ve ever seen in a tweet saying:

    Jerry Falwell Jr. prefers to go down swinging

    thus proving he’s not exactly up on english idioms relating to married couples having consensual sex outside of marriage with the knowledge and presence of their spouses…

  6. says

    Oh, something else:

    What’s a bit funny to me is that I’m guessing this is going to work dramatically to Falwell Jr’s advantage.

    I strongly suspect they’re going to force him (or at least socially pressure him) to sell his stake in the university. Once he does, he’ll be investing that in full knowledge of the world as it is in this new, post-Corona Emergence era.

    In the meantime, Liberty U is going to struggle both because of the new emphasis on distance learning but ALSO because the behavior of Falwell Jr is going to hurt that university.

    So he behaves badly, he gets forced out before the value of the school can fall as far as it eventually will, he is suddenly flush with cash he can reinvest elsewhere, et voilà!

    The only thing that’s going to take a hit is his ability to impact national politics, and I doubt that will hold true forever. At some point he’ll announce himself forgiven and his marriage “restored” and the right wing will again immediately offer him a seat in the room where all their exciting things are happening.


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