Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. was forced to apologize after he posted a scandalous photo with his wife's assistant on a yacht in which both of their pants are unzipped and their stomachs are exposed.
"She's pregnant, so she couldn't get her pants up. And I had on pair of jeans that I hadn't worn in a long time so I couldn't get mine zipped either. And so I just put my belly out like hers," Falwell said Thursday on a local talk radio show, adding that he's "apologized to everybody" for the photo.
"I've promised my kids I'm going to try to be a good boy from here on out," Falwell said, adding that his wife's assistant is a "sweetheart" and that he regrets having "embarrassed her."
wut is happening https://t.co/8iEOr9EeRQ— Robert Downen (@Robert Downen) 1596426987.0
This is not the first time Falwell — an early supporter of Donald Trump — has found himself caught up in a scandal about racy photos.
In October 2019, Falwell settled a case with a male pool attendant at a hotel in Miami Beach over alleged "sexually compromising photographs involving the Falwells," the New York Times reported.
Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer, helped Falwell keep the alleged photos private.
Falwell's issue with sexually explicit photos comes as his work preaches abstinence and so-called "family values."
Liberty University, the evangelical Christian Liberty University where Falwell Jr. serves as president, has an "honor code" that includes a commitment from students to "promote our commitment to Biblical principles of abstinence and purity."
Amid his sex scandals, Falwell has attacked marriage equality through his work at Liberty, writing in an op-ed for Christian Newswire that his university "believes that marriage between one man and one woman provides the best environment for children." He has vowed to remove the school from any federal programs that ban LGBTQ discrimination.
Falwell has come under fire this year for other reasons as well.
In early March, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Falwell falsely called the virus an "attempt to get Trump." Falwell went on to reopen the school even as the pandemic raged on — leading to an uproar from professors and students on the campus.
And in late June, as racial justice protests swept the nation, Black graduates of Liberty spoke out about racism on the campus.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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