Jerry Falwell Jr to take leave of absence after racy photo

Jerry Falwell Jr, former president of Liberty UniversityPicture copyright
Getty Pictures

Picture caption

Mr Falwell was an early and vocal supporter of President Trump

The president of one of many world’s largest evangelical Christian faculties has agreed to step apart after posting a photograph of himself, trousers unzipped.

Jerry Falwell, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, mentioned he would take an indefinite go away of absence from Liberty College in Virginia.

The faculty board didn’t present a motive for the transfer.

Mr Falwell had conceded the Instagram photograph was “bizarre”, however defended it as “all in good enjoyable”.

The college mentioned in an announcement on Friday: “The Govt Committee of Liberty College’s Board of Trustees, appearing on behalf of the complete Board, met right now and requested that Jerry Falwell, Jr take an indefinite go away of absence from his roles as President and Chancellor of Liberty College, to which he has agreed, efficient instantly.”

The faculty has a strict code of conduct for a way college students should behave on the college, together with barring premarital intercourse and the consumption of media both on or off campus “that’s offensive to Liberty’s requirements and traditions”, reminiscent of lewd lyrics, anti-Christian messages, sexual content material and nudity.

Hairstyles and fashions are to “keep away from extremes” and college students are to decorate modestly always.

The photograph confirmed Mr Falwell along with his arm round a girl who was not his spouse. Her shorts additionally gave the impression to be unbuttoned. His different hand was holding a glass of dark-coloured liquid.

“Extra trip photographs. A lot of good mates visited us on the yacht,” the accompanying caption learn. “I promise that is simply black water in my glass.”

He later deleted the submit.

The picture provoked outrage and expenses of hypocrisy from the political proper and left, with Republican lawmaker Mark Waller, chairman of the highly effective Home Republican Caucus, calling on Mr Falwell to step down.

“Jerry Falwell Jr’s ongoing behaviour is appalling,” Mr Walker, an advisory board member on the college, wrote on Twitter. “I am satisfied Falwell ought to step down.”

Talking to WLNI, a neighborhood Virginia radio station, earlier this week, Mr Falwell acknowledged the criticism and recognized the girl within the photograph as his spouse’s assistant.

“Yeah, it was bizarre. She’s pregnant. She could not get her pants zipped and I used to be like making an attempt to love… I had on a pair of denims I have never worn in a very long time and could not get zipped both. So, I simply put my stomach out like hers,” he mentioned.

Liberty College, a personal evangelical establishment primarily based in Lynchburg, was based by Mr Falwell’s father in 1971.

Upon his father’s demise in 2007, Mr Falwell was appointed as president.

Picture copyright
Alex Wong

Picture caption

Donald Trump attended the Liberty College graduation in 2017

Mr Falwell Jr has courted controversy all through his tenure. In Might, he tweeted a photograph of a face masks embellished with one individual in blackface and one other in a Ku Klux Klan gown, a reference to a racism scandal that had engulfed the Democratic governor of Virginia.

A month earlier, a Liberty scholar filed a class-action lawsuit towards the college over its dealing with of the coronavirus outbreak.

And final 12 months, the previous editor of the varsity’s scholar newspaper wrote an op-ed within the Washington Put up newspaper, accusing Mr Falwell of silencing college students and professors “who reject his pro-Trump politics”.

Mr Falwell was among the many earliest evangelical supporters of the present US president, usually credited for serving to supply that constituency to then-candidate Trump in 2016.

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