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Jerry Falwell Jr. Sex Scandal Was Achilles Heel in Falwell’s Quest for Political Power, According to New Documentary

jerry falwell jr. becki falwell giancarlo granda
Screengrabs via YouTube @Hulu

“God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty,” a documentary following the sex scandal involving former Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., his wife Becki, and a former pool attendant named Giancarlo Granda, became available to stream on Hulu on Tuesday (Nov. 1). 

In the documentary, the narrative of which is driven by an interview with Granda, Jerry and Becki Falwell are portrayed as sexually abusive and emotionally coercive, keeping Granda under their thumb with promises of a lavish lifestyle in exchange for his silence, all while ascending the echelons of the American evangelical political machine. 

The opening image of the documentary was of an empty chair, which Granda soon sat in, asking producers for a moment to gather himself before the interview began, noting that his parents would likely one day view it. 

“Look, if I would have known that accepting this woman’s invitation to go back to her hotel room would have led to a scandal involving the president of the largest Christian university in the world, and president of the United States, I would have walked away and just enjoyed my private life,” Granda said.

At the time his affair with Becki Falwell began, Granda was working at Fontainebleau, a Miami Beach resort that Granda described as being similar to a Las Vegas club. 

Granda was 20 years old at the time. 

“In March 2012, it was just like any other day. I’m doing the usual—just changing towels, talking to the guests,” Granda said. “And then I look over, you know, behind my shoulder and I see this woman looking at me…She was actually snapping pictures of me. She was in her 40s, more than twice my age. She was attractive. Yeah, she was a cougar.” 

Granda said that when he asked the woman why she was taking photos of him, she replied, “Don’t waste your time with the younger ones, they don’t know what they’re doing.” Granda said that after they began talking, the woman invited Granda back to her room. He accepted, at which point Granda said that she informed him: “My husband likes to watch.” 

Raised in a conservative Catholic family, the documentary notes that Granda’s mother, ironically, was shaped by Jerry Falwell Sr.’s “The Old Time Gospel Hour” television program. 

Falwell Sr. was an influential political and religious figure among evangelicals for decades, founding what is now one of the largest Christian universities in the world in Liberty University, as well as the Moral Majority, a political coalition that played a key role in the election of president Ronald Reagan. 

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Jerry Falwell Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps to become an influential figure in evangelicalism in his own right, bringing back Liberty University from the brink of financial collapse and leading it to a place of prominence in the evangelical world. He later became a “kingmaker” of his own via his relationship with president Donald Trump.