Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., currently under an enforced “leave of absence” after posted a photo of himself with his pants unzipped and his arm around his wife’s “personal assistant,” wearing a pair of tattered jeans shorts, also unzipped, on social media, continues to collect his annual million-dollar salary while the school’s board deals with increasing calls for his permanent removal.
The Instagram photo was taken on the 164-foot, six-bedroom yacht owned by NASCAR mogul Rick Hendrick, which he, his wife and others use “frequently” after signing a multi-million university sponsorship deal with Hendrick Motorsports.
Liberty is paying the millions to Hendrick Motorsports to sponsor the NASCAR #24 Chevrolet driven by William Bryon, who is also listed as an “online” student at the university.
Since the photo, shot by his wife Becki, other questionable material — including a 2018 Instagram video showing the evangelical leader performing “pelvic thrusts” with two women at an exercise bar — an activity that would send a Liberty student packing and expelled.
In a press release issued by the university board Friday, the school detailed that Falwell is “not allowed” to use any of the powers of the presidency or communicate with employees “to manage, direct or interfere” with school operations while on leave.
Along the complaints about the multi-million payments to a NASCAR team, the board has also received information about what others call “questions about the use of Liberty’s finances.”
Save71, co-founded by 2018 Liberty grad Dustin Wahl, is lobbying the school to “terminate” any and all involvement with Falwell.
In a message sent to the Lynchburg News & Advance newspaper, Wahl adds:
Liberty’s Board of Trustees needs to understand that for Liberty to move in a positive direction, Falwell must be permanently removed. The fact that the Board is continuing to pay Falwell and is letting him consult with the current president allows him far too much remaining influence.
If the board is serious about wanting ‘spiritual revival’ at Liberty, they need to begin where all revival throughout Christian history has begun: with repentance. Falwell needs to repent for the numerous ways he has abused his power and the board needs to repent for its years of failing to provide accountability.
Wahl’s group is not alone in demanding Liberty fire Falwell. In a letter to the board, 50 pastors who also graduated from Liberty urged the governing body “permanently remove” the scandal-ridden president.
“The students of Liberty University need a chancellor and president that embraces the responsibility to live out their faith with integrity and passion both publicly and privately,” the pastors wrote, Christian Broadcast Network reports.
Lberty’s board said Friday that its investigation of Falwell’s behavior and actions continue with no set deadline for a final decision.
The news release by the University adds:
The Board and its Executive Committee contemplate this being a careful and deliberative process, but one that will yield a result that honors God and is befitting one of the largest Christian universities in the world.
Several Floyd County high school graduates have attended, and some still attend, Liberty. The school expelled one local woman who became pregnant while single.
Unmarried sex is grounds for immediate expulsion from the school, where the dress code prohibits wearing “provocative” attire or attending “R” rated movies. Also banned is drinking or partying, which is what Falwell and his wife seem to do a lot of on the fancy yacht of Rick Hendrick and, reports say, in South Miami Beach and other places.
Headlines on his activities call Falwell a “hypocrite.” Others suggest his lifestyle may also be the real reason he enthusiastically supports the antics of president Donald Trump.
Reuters reports says Falwell used the Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen to help hide racy photographs involving he and his wife, including some showing her wearing a skimpy “French maid” costume.
Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.
According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.
Falwell “declined” to comment on the report.
(This report includes information from Politico, the Lynchburg News & Advance, the Miami Herald, the Christian Broadcast Network and The Washington Post.)