Jerry Falwell Jr. says that he is “relieved” after resigning as president of Liberty University, telling a newspaper he is “free at last.”
What are the details?
On Monday, Reuters published an interview with a former business partner and “pool boy” for Falwell, Giancarlo Granda, who told the outlet he had a yearslong affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki Falwell, and that Jerry Falwell would watch the two have sex. Granda, 29, claims he has evidence to support his story.
Falwell, 58, confirmed Granda and Becki’s affair to The Washington Examiner, but denied having any part in it himself.
The same day, Liberty University put out a statement saying that Falwell had agreed to resign as president of the Evangelical institution based in Lynchburg, Virginia, but Falwell denied the school’s claim.
By Tuesday morning, Falwell told a Lynchburg newspaper, The News & Advance, that he had indeed agreed to step down.
“It’s a relief,” he told the outlet, “The quote that keeps going through my mind this morning is Martin Luther King Jr: ‘free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I’m free at last.'”
He went on to disclose that the university’s board treated him “very, very generously.”
Liberty University released a statement Tuesday explaining that “after agreeing yesterday to immediately resign then reversing course, Falwell, through an attorney, sent the resignation letter late last night to members of the Board’s Executive Committee pursuant to the terms of his contract of employment.”
The news release noted that “Falwell’s severance compensation was dictated by the terms of his pre-existing employment agreement without any adjustments by the University or its Board.”
According to the Daily Mail, Falwell received a $1 million annual salary through Liberty University, but the board did not disclose the amount he would be paid upon departure.
Falwell was already on an “indefinite leave of absence” as president of the university, after agreeing earlier this month to take a break from his leadership positions at the board’s request amid calls for Falwell’s resignation over a social media post.
Falwell — a well-known conservative and ally of President Donald Trump — had received waves of criticism over a now-deleted Instagram post from his yacht showing him with his arm around a woman as both of them showed off their pants being unzipped.
The Christian leader dismissed the photo as harmless fun, but some prominent Republicans were not impressed.
GOP Rep. Mark Walker (N.C.), a former preacher, tweeted at the time, “Jerry Falwell Jr’s ongoing behavior is appalling. As a Music Faculty Advisory Board Member and former instructor @LibertyU, I’m convinced Falwell should step down. None of us are perfect, but students, faculty, alumni and @LUPraise deserve better.”