NEW YORK CITY—Under the title "Pornography and Politics," Sunday's New York Times will feature a reasonably fair "day in the life" story about Hustler Video/LFP Publications owner Larry Flynt, which consists largely of reporter Brooks Barnes having breakfast with Flynt at his favorite restaurant and reporting on just about everything Flynt did and everyone he came in contact with during that couple of hours.
Though the piece appears to have been inspired by LFP's purchase last week of New Frontier Media, described as a "$33 million on-demand movie service," Barnes notes several of Flynt's business holdings, including Hustler magazine, the Hustler Clubs and "a slew of additional businesses," while noting that it's all run from "a 10-story tower in Beverly Hills, his name prominently displayed on top."
Of course, Barnes isn't averse to painting Flynt in typical porn mogul terms.
"He wears a seven-carat diamond ring, and his other fingers are adorned with fat rubies and emeralds," Barnes reports. "His wheelchair, a necessity since a 1978 assassination attempt left him paralyzed from the waist down, is plated in gold. His other ride? A black chauffeur-driven Bentley with extra tinting and vanity plates: HUSTLR."
Along the way, we find out where Flynt likes to eat—Culina at the Four Seasons, "one of the showiest restaurants in Los Angeles," where he's eaten breakfast and lunch most days for the past decade; what he likes to eat—the "Larry Flynt Salad," a recent menu addition consisting of Dungeness crab, shrimp, chopped vegetables, egg and garbanzo beans; and even how he eats, with Barnes noting that one of Flynt's bodyguards offers, unbidden, an assortment of toothpicks, picks Flynt up by his armpits to stimulate his circulation, provides medications and even brushes Flynt's hair, which Barnes clearly finds unusual.
The discussion over breakfast that day in September largely revolved around politics, with Flynt even taking a phone call from California Gov. Jerry Brown during the meal. Brown apparently wanted Flynt's support for Measure 30, which would increase sales taxes and taxes on incomes over $250,000 to fund schools.
"Have your girl call my office with the information," Flynt told the state's governor, of whom Barnes assures Flynt is a fan, "but don't get him started on Mitt Romney." Indeed; shortly thereafter, Flynt placed full-page ads in the Washington Post and USA Today, offering $1 million for information about the contents of Romney's tax returns—an ad that Barnes' own paper, The New York Times, rejected.
The breakfast conversation was mostly political, with Flynt claiming (probably correctly) that because of his Supreme Court win over Rev. Jerry Falwell for having portrayed the late evangelist as a drunken womanizer in a satirical Dewars Liquor ad, "Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart, Jay Leno, Letterman. You had better believe their attorneys are telling them, 'You can do what you do because Larry Flynt won his case.'"
Also mentioned are Flynt's plans to open 10 more Hustler stores and a casino on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as his victory in his lawsuit against nephews Dustin and Jimmy II, in which Flynt claimed the pair were producing "inferior products" under the Flynt name.
All in all, it's a well-written piece—and it's particularly nice to see one of the adult industry's top leaders featured in the pages of "The Paper of Record."