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

Falwell Jr.’s business dealings with Granda soon became a matter of public conversation in 2018, and Granda henceforward became known as “the pool boy.”

According to Granda, Falwell Jr. later settled with the Fernandezes on the Miami property case, but Granda never received his buyout money. After being unable to find work following grad school in light of the national scandal, Granda said that he became depressed and at one point contemplated suicide. 

“I just wanted to go away peacefully,” he said. 

Instead, Granda decided to disclose the details of his affair with Becki and Falwell Jr. to Rosten. To corroborate his claims, Granda brought a number of pieces of evidence, including a FaceTime recording between himself and Becki, wherein Becki was unclothed and describing all the places the two had had sex in the Falwells’ home. Falwell Jr. also briefly appeared during the video call. 

Soon after, a scandal wherein Falwell Jr. posted an image of himself alongside a woman with their pants unzipped at a costume party lent further credence to Granda’s claims. Falwell was placed on leave from Liberty University following that incident, as well as for his heavy drinking, which he allegedly engaged in during work hours at the university. 

While on leave, Falwell Jr. published a statement accusing Granda of extortion following an extramarital affair with Becki that Falwell Jr. did not know about. The statement was published while Rosten was completing fact-checking and due diligence on his piece. The article chronicling Granda’s version of the events was published a day later. 

Falwell Jr. resigned from Liberty University shortly thereafter, continuing to maintain that Granda’s account of the affair was fabricated. Granda said that Falwell Jr. texted him after Granda’s story was published, saying that he hoped Granda dropped “the soap in prison.” 

A kingmaker no more, Falwell Jr. has largely disappeared from the public eye. 

In the months and years that followed Falwell Jr.’s departure, Liberty University came under scrutiny for allegedly mishandling sexual abuse allegations from students over the course of decades, eventually leading to a third-party investigation and subsequent reforms. 

The documentary ends on a sober note, arguing that while Falwell Jr. has been removed from his place of prominence, the legacy of his work remains. While pro-life advocates, both inside and outside the evangelical movement, celebrated the Supreme Court Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the documentary paints the legal victory with the same brush as the January 6 Capitol Riot, characterizing both as the result of Christian nationalism, white supremacy, and a perversion of the American project. 

“God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty” is available to stream on Hulu.