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FROM NEWSEUM INSTITUTE: Larry Flynt and the First Amendment

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Larry Flynt, the septuagenarian publisher of Hustler magazine, is one of the most controversial figures in First Amendment jurisprudence. He is legendary for simultaneously pushing the buttons and boundaries of sexual expression in the United States while fighting key free speech fights against figures such as the late Jerry Falwell, who headed the Moral Majority and founded Liberty University.

The 1988 case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, in which Flynt scored a unanimous victory before the U.S. Supreme Court protecting an ad parody that suggested how Falwell lost his virginity, is what makes programs ranging from The Daily Show to South Park to Saturday Night Live possible. Flynt also has fought important, but far less known, federal court fights for press access to U.S. military operations in both Afghanistan and Grenada.

Flynt was interviewed July 24, 2014 at Hustler’s headquarters in Beverly Hills on the fortieth anniversary of Hustler magazine. Steve Johnson of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications produced the video of the interview.

(To read full article, click here.)


FROM NEW YORK POST: HUSTLER founder is taking the porn empire public

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

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Larry Flynt is making noises about taking his Hustler porn empire public.

The 71-year-old porn king, who has expanded well beyond his monthly magazine into Web sites, casinos, a TV network and a licensing division, thinks the business could be worth as much as $500 million.

The Los Angeles-based company is already working with “high-powered” firms to consider an initial public offering, Flynt told the Cincinnati Enquirer in a recent interview.

The IPO could come to Wall Street within 12 to 18 months, the founder and chairman of the 40-year-old publication said.

Back in 1974, Hustler magazine joined Playboy and Penthouse in a newsstand competition for male adolescent eyeballs across the nation.

The competition served all three publications well for years, but when the market turned south in the late 1990s, Flynt had the foresight to diversify.

(To read full article, click here.)


FROM CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER: Larry Flynt talks about Cincinnati and sex, and answers our 12 questions

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

larry-flyntFor Cincinnatians of a certain age, the idea that Larry Claxton Flynt Jr. would own a Hustler store in the Central Business District, running as innocuously as a sandwich shop or a drug store, is, well … unfathomable. And he actually runs two.

It’s also crazy to the 71-year-old Flynt himself. When I asked him this week whether he ever thought he’d have adult stores in a city that almost sent him to jail for 25 years, he cut me off.

“Never. Never, ever.”

Flynt was prosecuted on obscenity and organized crime charges here in 1976 by then-Hamilton County Prosecutor Simon Leis, with help from Charles Keatingthe recently deceased Cincinnati native and anti-pornography activist who founded Citizens for Decent Literature. Flynt was sentenced to seven to 25 years and served six days before the sentence was overturned on a technicality. One argument resulting from this case made it all the way to a review by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981.

But 2014 isn’t 1976. Flynt is no longer Cincinnati’s bogeyman. His pornography business, which caused him (and Cincinnati) so many headaches, has morphed into a $1 billion empire, with revenue coming from sources ranging far afield from his infamous Hustler magazine.

A native of Magoffin County, Ky., one of the nation’s poorest areas, Flynt spoke to me by phone from his Beverly Hills, Calif., home. He wanted to give me an update on the status of his downtown Cincinnati Hustler stores (he has a third local store in Monroe). He also wanted to make it clear that he never disliked the people here. “Just the ones in charge.”

He even says “Cincinnatah,” which is a very old, very endearing, very … Cincinnatah way of speaking.

Q: How are your Hustler Hollywood stores in Cincinnati doing? Or do you even look at the numbers that closely?

A: I always look at the numbers. Our stores in Cincinnati are doing well. We have more of them there because that’s where we got our start.

Q: Your print magazine revenue obviously isn’t what makes you a $1 billion company. What does?

A: Casino gaming, broadcast television and retail. This is our best year ever. Hustler as a magazine will probably be gone in a few years. It’ll just be digital. And we’re looking at an IPO.

Q: An IPO? Why do you need the funds?

A: Because we want to expand. We made two acquisitions in broadcast TV last year, we’re buying another casino right now. We want to continue that growth.

(For full interview, click here.)


FROM CINCINNATI.COM: Will Larry Flynt take HUSTLER public?

Friday, September 19th, 2014

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At age 71, Hustler founder and chairman Larry Flynt said he’s growing weary of stirring the pot.

But that doesn’t mean the chief executive of the Los Angeles-based porn empire is leaving the business soon. He wants to grow the enterprise even larger – by making it a publicly traded company

Flynt said Friday that the privately held company could go public within the next 12 to 18 months. He said the company is already working with “high powered” firms to study the possibility of an initial public offering.

“That’s no small feat,” Flynt told The Enquirer. “We’d just be able to raise a lot more money. We’re trying to decide whether to take the whole company public or just a portion of it. The decision hasn’t been made yet.”

Flynt’s company declines to disclose revenue, but he said it could be worth $500 million. Flynt opened his first Hustler club in Dayton in 1968 and the first Hustler magazine was sold 40 years ago.

A few adult entertainment companies are publicly traded but many have returned to being privately held. Playboy Enterprises was a publicly traded company before founder Hugh Hefner took the company private in 2011. Boulder, Colorado-based New Frontier Media was publicly traded before a Hustler company bought it in 2012.

Houston-based strip club and restaurant operator RCI Hospitality Holdings, formerly Rick’s Cabaret International, has been publicly traded company since 1995 and has a market capitalization of $117.2 million.

The Hustler empire includes the Hustler television network, a casino near Los Angeles, more than 60 adult websites, retail stores, a merchandise production licensing division, Hustler magazine, adult film production companies, and a Las Vegas strip club. The company employs about 1,200 people. Flynt has two Hustler Express stores in Downtown Cincinnati and a Hustler Hollywood in Monroe.

“Twenty five years ago, 85 percent of profits came from paper,” Flynt said. “Now, less than 5 percent of profits come from publishing. We’ve changed the whole economics of our company (but) we’re more sound than we were before.”

(To read full article, click here.)


FROM U.S. NEWS: Larry Flynt, Video Games and the Potential Fallout of Net Neutrality

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Businesses using online video and streaming downloads have the highest stakes in the regulation debate.

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The adult entertainment industry has much at stake in the net neutrality debate, says Hustler Magazine owner Larry Flynt.

Net neutrality continues to stir major controversy over how – or whether – the Federal Communications Commission should draft rules for equal treatment of online traffic, but some businesses might be in trouble no matter what happens.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed rules regarding net neutrality – the concept that all traffic is created equal and every website should have the same chance to compete without being slowed, blocked or disadvantaged by Internet providers – have generated more than 1 million public comments, in part out of fear that the proposal would enable Internet service providers to charge for faster online speeds.

Wheeler’s rules aim to prevent anti-competitive blocking or slowing of Web traffic. But the establishment of an online “fast lane” could leave behind any companies unable to afford new tolls for Internet use.

Adult entertainment is among the sectors with the most to lose in the net neutrality debate, along with any company that uses online video or real-time actions like gaming that can’t afford to pay Internet service providers for faster connections. Access to free content on the Internet has shuttered many adult entertainment businesses, and more will close if paid prioritization becomes the new norm under the FCC’s proposed rules, Larry Flynt, owner of Hustler Magazine, tells U.S. News.

“It’s doubtful that smaller, independent websites would survive without some kind of net neutrality protection,” Flynt says. “It’s a huge First Amendment issue.”

Netflix has agreed to pay service providers Comcast and Verizon for better access out of concern that poor connections would slow customer downloads of its video content, but that’s only the beginning of risks to video traffic, says Marvin Ammori, a fellow at the New America Foundation think tank.

Those at risk, Ammori says, include online education companies like Codecademy that depend on video downloads, along with startups hoping to compete with tech giants like Microsoft, which is dependent on quality speeds in its real-time Xbox gaming and its online communication site Skype. Microsoft is among the dozens of technology companies that filed with the FCC arguing in favor of strong net neutrality rules, citing that its traffic has been slowed or blocked in some regions where such protections don’t exist.

(To read full article, click here.)


FROM LOCKERDOME: Porn king Larry Flynt still fighting for free speech, on Hustler’s 40th birthday

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

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Porn veteran Larry Flynt is celebrating the 40th birthday of his X-rated magazine Hustler — and from his gold-plated wheelchair he is as combative as ever in fighting for free speech.

Dressed in a beige suit with gold and diamond rings, Flynt surveys photos ranged on his enormous, Napoleon-style desk including his wife and himself with Bill Clinton, as well as caricatures and a collection of his magazines.

The front cover of the anniversary edition has a blonde on all fours dressed only in garters and a string of pearls. Inside there is no such modesty, with hardcore porn in full-color close-up.

“They did a poll recently — 80 percent of the women who enjoy adult film care about the dialogue and the quality of production. Men they don’t care, they take it raw,” he smiled.

The 71-year-old has been in his gold-plated wheelchair since an attack which left him paralyzed below the waist in 1978.

While celebrating his magazine’s four decades in print, he admits it is struggling, with circulation down from a peak of around three million during its heyday to “a couple of hundred thousand today”, according to a Hustler spokesman.

“Publishing is not good .. for anybody in America because Internet is replacing print. We’ll continue the magazine as long as it is profitable. Then we’ll go online,” Flynt said.

Hustler’s website doesn’t make much money either, competing with a tsunami of hardcore porn online which is often free, and made by amateurs.

– ‘Having our best year’ –

His business’ future lies above all in TV porn channels and on-demand videos, but also in Hustler-themed sex accessory and clothing stores and casinos, which he is opening everywhere.

(To read full article, click here.)


FROM U.S. NEWS- Larry Flynt:Washington Doesn’t Get Sex

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

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Hustler Magazine owner Larry Flynt praised President Barack Obama’s handling of LGBT rights and condemned Congress’ handling of women’s reproductive rights.

Hustler owner says Congress is close-minded but affairs, sex won’t doom political careers.

Congress has a case of “electile” dysfunction – failing to accomplish jobs they were elected to do, Hustler Magazine owner Larry Flynt tells U.S. News. Not only did Congress cause a government shutdown last year, but many politicians still try to restrict sex and gender rights issues like access to contraception on health care plans, Flynt says.

“They can’t clean our streets but they want to keep our minds pure,” Flynt says. “I think it’s just horrible the way Congress has handled women’s reproductive rights. It’s a bunch of grumpy old men. It should be a woman’s decision.”

Despite the failures of the government, Flynt praised President Barack Obama for his support of LGBT rights. Unfortunately, he adds, Obama’s failures managing civil liberties, foreign policy and the economy overshadow any successes of his administration.

(To read full article, click here.)


FROM HUFFINGTON POST: Hustler Magazine Turns 40, Parties In L.A.: A Peak Behind the Scenes as Larry Flynt Celebrates in Style

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

The black-and-gold JPEG invitation arrived in my inbox back in June, miraculously dodging the spam filter. “You and a guest are invited to join us as we celebrate our 40th anniversary.”

It was from Hustler magazine.

Not the kind of invite most academics receive, coming from a publication that dubs itself “Hardcore Since ’74” and “For the Rest of the World.” There will be no panel discussions or no plenary sessions at this affair.

But there was, as it turned out, a bevy of stars from another, slightly more carnal world — talent with names like Karla Kush, Cassidy Klein, Marley Blaze, Jazy Berlin and Summer Carter.

Already slated to conduct an interview about First Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court issues with the man who’s the driving force behind this entire event, I rsvped yes.

Roaring 20s outfits were encouraged for the July 26 bash — fitting for a fete at the neo-Gothic Park Plaza Hotel just off Wilshire Boulevard near MacArthur Park in Los Angeles’s Westlake area. Initially an Elks Lodge and now trumpeting itself as “legendary,” the hotel boasts of being designed in the 1920s by a “renowned art deco architect” named Claud Beelman.

It’s doubtful, however, that either the Elks or Beelman could have imagined that, some nine decades later, the hotel would be the scene of celebration for Larry Claxton Flynt, a figure truly legendary for simultaneously pushing the buttons and boundaries of sexual expression in the United States while fighting key First Amendment battles against the likes of Jerry Falwell, the late Moral Majority leader.

The 1988 case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, in which Flynt scored a unanimous victory before the U.S. Supreme Court protecting an ad parody that suggested Falwell lost his virginity with his mother in a fly-infested outhouse, is what makes programs ranging from The Daily Show to South Park possible. He’s also fought important, but far lesser known, federal court fights for press access to U.S. military operations in both Afghanistan and Grenada.

Flynt, as it turns out, didn’t end up exercising his First Amendment rights and giving any speeches during the soiree. But he does offer up a few choice words in the publisher’s opening statement of the just-streeted 40th anniversary collector’s edition of Hustler:

I am proud that I’ve been able to bring you Hustler Magazine every month for 40 years. It hasn’t been easy and it never will be. To all the people who tried and failed to stop me, I got a middle finger for you. To everyone else, let’s keep this party going!

For the more image-inclined Hustler devotees who skipped past that textual content of the 40th anniversary edition, there’s a photo spread featuring Belle Knox, the Duke University undergraduate who made headlines in early 2014 because she’s paying her way through that elite institution by working in porn. Just as Knox challenges stereotypes about women who earn their livings on the backs and knees, so too does Flynt test our beliefs about what is and is not sexually normal.

(To read full article, click here)


FROM FORBES: Larry Flynt’s New Hustles

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Over the years, Larry Flynt has peddled pornography, fought for freedom of speech, been shot at, and run for office. The pioneer of pornography in America has two new hustles planned for this year: a digital revamp of his iconic magazine – Hustler – and a major expansion of his retail stores.

In a conversation with me this morning, Flynt said Hustler’s website will port the offline experience of its magazines into an online one by the end of this year. This includes forty years of archives, movies, and notable content from the magazine’s offline avatar. “We will include a lot of material to entice viewers to become members of our site,” he told me.

That may be a tough sell, given the ubiquity and popularity of free porn on the Internet. Alec Helmy, publisher of Xbiz, an industry trade site, says print adult magazines are not commercially viable anymore because the bulk of consumption for such material occurs online and is visual and interactive in format (Print magazines are predominantly text-based). “Consumer psychology has changed due to free porn,” he says. As a result, customers are wary of paying for adult content when they can get it for free on sites subsidized by advertising dollars.

According to Helmy, Hustler’s reinvention of its digital presence is an attempt to maintain the brand’s perception and association. “It (the site) may end up being a loss leader,” he says.

Flynt says the Hustler brand is “as strong as ever.”

A Well-Diversified Hustle

Hustler’s print product, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary this year, has been on its last legs for some time. At its peak in 1976, the magazine sold two million copies per month. With the onset of cable television and DVD rentals, the magazine ran press runs of a million copies in 1997. According to a New York Times story that year, on average more than half of those copies were returned unsold. To revive the magazine’s fortunes, Flynt promised to publish the “most outrageous magazine out there.” But, he could not stem the online onslaught.

(For full article, click here)


FROM BLOOMBERG TV: HUSTLER Magazine’s Days Are Numbered: Larry Flynt

Monday, July 28th, 2014



July 28 (Bloomberg) –- Hustler Magazine Owner Larry Flynt discusses his magazine turning 40, the company’s presence on internet and cable TV platforms and the importance of free speech. He speaks on “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg)


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