Larry Flynt

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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.)

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