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Hustler Founder Larry Flynt Dies at 78

“You’ve just got to have the desire to do it. Without desire, you can’t accomplish anything. With desire, you can move mountains.” (Larry Flynt as quoted by AVN in 2014)

Porn lost another one of its most iconic figures Wednesday when notorious Hustler found Larry Flynt died at age 78. Best known for the celebrated magazine brand he founded more than 40 years ago, Flynt was an outspoken flashpoint for controversy over the years, rarely wavering in his commitment to free speech, sexuality, and smut.

A Navy veteran born in Lakeville, Kentucky, Flynt embarked on his adult entertainment career when he opened a series of Hustler Clubs in the 1960s. Hustler Magazine grew out of a newsletter Flynt developed for his clubs, eventually growing into a full-fledged adult periodical in 1974. Like most adult magazines, it has seen a steep drop in circulation over the past 20 years, but it remains one of porn’s most recognizable brands.

In contrast with magazines such as Penthouse and Playboy, which often danced with a more overtly mainstream sensibility, Hustler was always an enthusiastically hardcore publication. Penthouse and Playboy frequently eschewed explicit shots, but Hustler made its name with depictions of genitalia that were shockingly risque for their time. In this way, it was a representation of the tastes and preferences of its founder, which more closely aligned with the public’s than they might care to admit, if Hustler’s rousing success over the years is any indication. “All I’m guilty of is bad taste,” as Woody Harrelson’s incarnation of Flynt mused in a 1996 film dramatization.

Flynt stirred plenty of intense feelings over the years, and was the victim of an assassination attempt in 1978 that left him partially paralyzed. He had notable clashes with figures such as Jerry Falwell and politician Bob Livingston, who was compelled to resign in 1998 after a Flynt stunt brought his affairs to light.

Flynt was the last man standing of a band of three men whose publications helped foster America’s sexual revolution. Penthouse founder Bob Guccione died in 2010, while Playboy publisher and famous ladies’ man Hugh Hefner succumbed to illness seven years later.

The Hustler line of DVDs has brought to life some of the most famous bestsellers in Adult Empire’s history, including Who’s Nailin’ Paylin, This Ain’t Game Of Thrones: This Is A Parody, and the Barely Legal series.


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