Why That Falwell Jr. Yacht Photo Was the Final Straw - 2020-08-07
Jerry Falwell Jr. is taking a leave of absence from Liberty University, the school announced on Friday evening. The executive committee of the evangelical university's board of trustees met on Friday and requested that Falwell Jr. temporarily step down from his roles as president and chancellor, according to a brief statement issued by the school. Falwell Jr. agreed, effective immediately.
The college's statement did not mention a reason for the board's request. But the announcement comes at the end of a week in which Falwell has faced unprecedented public pressure to resign from prominent associates of the college. Last weekend, Falwell Jr. posted a photograph to his Instagram account in which he posed with his arm around a pregnant woman with a bare midriff at a private party on a yacht. The college president's shirt is pulled up and his pants are unbuttoned, revealing a triangle of underwear. He's holding a glass of what appears to be an alcoholic beverage, though he referred to it in the caption as "black water."
Falwell Jr. quickly deleted the photo from his account, but screenshots spread quickly. In a bizarre, brief interview with a Virginia radio station on Wednesday, he said he had "apologized to everybody" and that he had promised his children, "I'm gonna try to be a good boy from here on out." Falwell identified the woman as his wife's assistant, and other photos from the weekend show his wife and several of his children and their spouses on the excursion. (Other family photographs from the weekend show the engagement of Falwell Jr.'s daughter Caroline, a Liberty student.)