Update: Falwell insists that he has not resigned. Apparently, he offered to resign but talks “broke down.”
Update 2 (12:20a ET): Falwell has officially resigned (for real this time), according to the Wall Street Journal.
… And just like that, Jerry Falwell, Jr. has resigned from Liberty University.
Yonat Shimron at Religion News Service writes:
His resignation came within hours of the publication of a news story that alleged he and his wife Becki had a years-long sexual relationship with a business associate.
I just posted about that scandal here.
The resignation saves the Board of Trustees from having to pull the plug themselves. It’s possible they pressured Falwell to leave. Those details are sure to follow soon.
Here’s why this resignation is troubling, though. It comes after Giancarlo Granda, the infamous “pool boy,” told Reuters that he fucked Becki Falwell on multiple occasions over the course of several years while Jerry Falwell watched “from the corner of the room.”
It’s the sort of sex scandal from which even white evangelicals can’t possibly reemerge after taking some personal time to reacquaint themselves with the Lord.
But consider all the things Falwell did that didn’t lead to his resignation. All of them are far more troubling than his personal kinks, which, again, shouldn’t be anyone else’s business.
He posted a bizarre picture on Instagram with his arm around another woman, both of them with their bellies hanging out and their flies unzipped, while he held a drink (“black water,” he said).
He publicly “liked” photos of younger women in not-so-Christian poses.
He made a racist tweet in response to the governor of Virginia mandating face masks in public spaces.
He targeted reporters who were doing their job.
He inadvertently pushed Black athletes to transfer out of Liberty.
He called a parent “dummy” just because he asked why Liberty was reopening during the COVID crisis, an action that could put his children (who attend the school) in danger.
He lied about the origin of coronavirus.
He gave a sweet land deal to his personal trainer — which raises even more questions now about what relationship he and Becki had with that man.
He censored the school’s own journalists.
All of those incidents are from the past couple of years. None of them led to his resignation; none of them even seriously led the school’s Board to consider such actions. He’s only resigning now after his actions — and utter hypocrisy — finally caught up to him.
I mean, good fucking riddance, but unless he leaves public life for good and Liberty U. hires a leader who isn’t a corrupt monster who gets high on his own power, nothing will change. A resignation is step one. There are so many more to go.
Imagine how awful you must be to be the “Most Embarrassing Falwell” when your father is the guy who blamed 9/11 on pagans, “abortionists,” feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU, and People for the American Way. But the son’s spent his entire adult life earning the title.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)