Award winning Circus of Books director and writer, Rachel Mason, shared some memories on free speech advocate, legendary pornographer and founder of Hustler magazine, Larry Flynt, who died on February 10, 2021, at the age of 78.
“The world lost an Icon today,” Mason posted on her Instagram account following news of his passing. “I met Larry Flynt in 2004 when I was a student at Yale. I invited him to speak and to my surprise he agreed! I booked the Battell Chapel. He said it was his first time ever speaking in a church! I then received a very angry phone call from the head minister who said he did not approve Mr. Flynt’s giving a talk at his church. I told the minister that it was too late and the police escort was already getting him to the church and all the students were arriving. Flynt came out on his own dime to teach students how to be activists, how to speak up to power and stand up to oppressive leaders. He gave me that lesson. It was one of my greatest honors to interview him for Circus of Books and more so, an honor to share his legacy of early support for the LGBTQ community.”
Rachel Mason was also a guest speaker on the Holly Randal Unfiltered podcast where she spoke about her Netflix Circus of Books film and she added some words about Flynt, who is also featured on her documentary.
“Larry Flynt is a complete genius,” she said. “He’s done a lot just in his being a political activist. He’s someone who is smart and shows up and says articulate things. He was also on the right side of LGBT causes, including being the first person to really distribute gay magazines to the mainstream. I was really happy to be able to show that Larry Flynt, who people think of as just a straight pornographer, actually did something powerful for the gay community at a time when he didn’t have to.”
To listen to the full podcast, visit: https://hollyrandallunfiltered.libsyn.com/181-rachel-mason-the-family-business
The Circus of Books documentary pretty much begins with Larry Flynt. Rachel’s parents, Karen and Barry Mason, landed into the world of porn distribution when Rachel’s father, an inventor down on his luck, answered an ad by Flynt seeking someone reliable to distribute his magazines.
“We kind of got into this business by accident,” Karen Mason told WEHO TIMES back in June 2017. “Larry Flynt put out an ad in the LA Times looking for distributors because he was having problems with his national distributor for Hustler Magazine. “Barry couldn’t do too much with his medical products, so he started delivering magazines and that’s how we got into this business.”
Larry Flynt ran a pornography empire in Beverly Hills for decades. Hustler magazine spawned The Hustler adult oriented store on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. TMZ reports that his cause of death was heart failure.