Yes, that really is Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. smiling, with his pants unzipped, as he poses with an arm around a scantily dressed young woman who is not his wife. And get this: Falwell posted the photo to social media himself. He really did. No, seriously.
I’m getting frightened, because this episode suggest that The Great Stupid is extending beyond the boundaries of the George Floyd Freakout and the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, and infecting people that have nothing to do with either. This means, if true, that The Great Stupid can strike any of us without warning. One minute you are arguing about the perils of the National Debt heading into the Red Zone, and suddenly Rep. Ocasio-Cortez starts making sense to you, and you’re sticking shrimp up your nose.
What in the world was Falwell thinking? This would be crazy for the President of Berkeley, and his university is one of the most conservative institutions in the nation, prohibits students from having sexual relations outside of marriage, listening to music with lewd lyrics, or watching films with sexual content, and nudity. Students are also required to dress modestly. Great role model, there, Jerry!
Falwell took down the post fairly quickly, but it was still too late. He also apologized, but an apology for showing your students and the world that you have no judgment at all isn’t really a remedy, and his explanation was ridiculous.
Falwell said that the woman in the photo is his wife’s assistant. and that she had her pants unzipped because she is pregnant. Soooo…
“She’s pregnant so she couldn’t get her — she couldn’t get her pants up,” Falwell said. “And I was like, trying to like — my — 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 — and so — I just put my belly — I just put my belly out like hers….It was a costume party on a — we were on vacation,” Falwell said. “And, anyway, long story short it was just in good fun. That’s it.”
That’s it, all right.
Liberty University’s Board of Trustees announced today that they requested Falwell to take an “indefinite leave of absence” from his roles at the university, which include serving as president and chancellor, effective immediately. Falwell agreed.
And then stuffed some shrimp up his nose.