Former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. filed a state lawsuit Wednesday against the evangelical school founded by his father, claiming he was wrongly forced to resign from his leadership post in the wake of a stream of scandals, NBC News reports.
Falwell Jr. had initially announced a leave of absence from Liberty on Aug. 7 after he posted a photo on Instagram with his pants unzipped, and his arm around a woman with her midriff exposed.
Then a former hotel pool attendant-turned-Falwell business partner, Giancarlo Granda, 29, told Reuters in an August interview that he carried on an affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki, beginning in 2012, when he was 20, and lasting until 2018.
Granda claimed that the Falwells’ “lavish lifestyle consisted of heavy drinking and going to nightclubs, which is strictly prohibited by the honor code that they expect everyone else to follow.” He also claimed that Falwell Jr. would watch from the corner of the room as he would have sex with his wife, Becki.
In a complaint in state court in Lynchburg, Virginia, Falwell’s lawyers alleged that Liberty defamed Falwell and breached the former president’s contract.
“Mr. Falwell has suffered damage to his reputation, damage to his profession, humiliation, and anguish; lost business opportunities; and suffered other pecuniary damage,” according to the plaintiff’s complaint.
“When Mr. Falwell and his family became the targets of a malicious smear campaign incited by anti-evangelical forces, Liberty University not only accepted the salacious and baseless accusations against the Falwells at face value, but directly participated in the defamation,” according to the lawsuit.
Liberty University “would need to read and review a lawsuit before making comment, and as of this moment we have not been served,” the school’s senior vice president and spokesman, Scott Lamb, said in a statement to NBC News on Thursday.
Fallwell Jr. also made headlines late last year after he personally signed off on a real estate transaction from his nonprofit Christian university that helped his hunky personal fitness trainer obtain valuable university property, according to a Reuters report.
Falwell has actively sought to judge and hurt LGBTQ people for the duration of his life—just like his late father, Jerry Falwell Sr., who founded the “Moral Majority” in 1979, and spent his life whipping up as much hatred as he could against LGBTQ people. Falwell Sr. contended, “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
In 2013, Falwell Jr. said he did not want Liberty University to receive federal government aid if it meant having to sign up to anti-LGBTQ discrimination rules. “We’re now in a financial position that would allow us to simply exit the program. … If it became necessary, that’s what we would do.”
Falwell Jr. has written: “Liberty University is pro-life and believes that marriage between one man and one woman provides the best environment for children. Liberty University will not lend its’ name or financial support to any student group that advances causes contrary to its mission…Liberty University will not lend its’ name or financial support to undermine marriage or to promote abortion.”