Liberty University is giving its former president, Jerry Falwell Jr., a $10.5 million severance package, despite numerous allegations of immorality and wrongdoing.
News of the severance was first reported in the Wall Street Journal and then confirmed by The Washington Post.
Falwell told The Washington Post that his contract entitled him to $2.5 million over 24 months—the equivalent of two years’ salary. During that time, Falwell reportedly has agreed not to work for a competing university. After two years, Falwell will receive around $8 million in retirement.
Falwell reportedly said the board gave him the severance because he is leaving Liberty without formally being accused of, or admitting, wrongdoing.
“The board was gracious not to challenge that,” Falwell told The Washington Post. “There wasn’t any cause. I haven’t done anything.”
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In Liberty’s statement yesterday, the university said that Falwell’s “severance compensation was dictated by the terms of his pre-existing employment agreement without any adjustment by the University or its Board.”
Falwell, however, has been accused not just of prurient behavior that violates the university’s own code of employee conduct, but of preying on Liberty University students.
Last night, Giancarlo Granda, the pool attendant who alleges he had sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell watched, tweeted a statement, saying: “The reality is Jerry Falwell is a predator. I know this because he sent me an image of a female Liberty University student exposing herself at their farm.”
— Giancarlo Granda (@GgrandaG) August 26, 2020
I reached out to Liberty and Falwell for comment about Granda’s claim, but no one responded.
However, Falwell told The Washington Post that Granda may been referring to an incident that happened at his family’s guest house when he and his wife were out of town. Falwell said his daughters-in-law and a friend were cooking at the house and the friend pulled up her skirt as a joke.
Falwell said the daughters-in-law were videotaping the girl and sending screenshots around. “She had on, I don’t know how to say this, granny panties,” Falwell said, adding that the image wasn’t sexual.
Falwell said he thought the image was funny and sent it to several people.
Concerning the affair with Granda, Becki Falwell has admitted that she had an inappropriate relationship, but denies that her husband was a part of it.
“I wish Christians and people would be as forgiving as Christ was,” she said.
Jerry Falwell initially was placed on a leave of absence after he posted and then deleted a photo of himself and a woman with their pants unzipped and shirts hiked up.
It also recently came to light that Falwell had a habit of “liking” Instagram posts of Liberty University students in bikinis. A video of Falwell doing pelvic thrusts on a bar holding two female students also recently surfaced.
Falwell has a long history of questionable behavior, dating back several years.
In 2015, Falwell stated during a Liberty convocation that he wished more people had concealed carry permits so “we could end those Muslims before they walked in.”
In 2016, Falwell reportedly signed a deal selling an 18-acre athletic center to his personal fitness trainer, Benjamin Crosswhite.
According to Reuters, Liberty adjusted the price of the property to benefit Crosswhite, and also financed the purchase. Reuters also reported that Falwell encouraged Liberty personnel in an email to cut Crosswhite a “sweet deal.”
In 2019, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen claimed that Falwell asked him to help bury racy photos described as images normally kept “between husband and wife.” Those images were reportedly destroyed after Cohen intervened.
Falwell initially denied that the photos existed. However, Falwell yesterday confirmed with The Washington Post that Cohen had helped him.
Falwell said someone had stolen photos from his phone of himself and his partially-nude wife in their backyard. Falwell said Cohen reportedly contacted the unnamed person’s lawyers and threatened to contact the FBI if the photos became public.
Cohen yesterday told the Post that Granda was involved, saying that he worked with Granda’s lawyers to make sure the photos were not released. A spokesman for Granda says Cohen did not speak to Granda’s lawyer.
Some have questioned whether Cohen may have used this favor for Falwell to secure Falwell’s endorsement of Donald Trump for president in 2016. Yesterday, Cohen said that he asked the Falwells to help with “the lagging Trump campaign in Iowa” as “a personal favor to me.”
Falwell also has been accused of self-dealing and fostering a culture of fear and intimidation at Liberty.
Earlier this summer, Falwell tweeted a racist image, which prompted a group of black alumni to urge him to step down.
21 thoughts on “Liberty University Gives Jerry Falwell Jr $10.5 Million Severance Despite Allegations of Wrongdoing”
If I were a donor I would be hopping mad and I’d find another place more worthy of my gifts pretty quickly. His salary was nauseatingly large for any Christian institution anyway. The faculty sure aren’t paid commensurate salaries. No respect.
Is the $10,500,000 being given in the form of a golden calf?
Asking for a friend.
That PIG shouldn’t get a dime, much less MILLIONS of dollars!
Wow, just when you think it can’t get any weirder. I’m speechless at the level of immoral and abusive behavior….and lack of remorse or repentance. Becki Falwell is talking about forgiveness. What are people to forgive if the Falwells don’t think that the did anything wrong?
And Liberty University is rewarding this guy. Shame on the Board of Trustees.
The president of my secular university was summarily fired by the board on a Monday morning for weekend ‘excesses’ of far, far less seriousness than these allegations. No agonizing, no prayer sessions, no weeks of consideration, and certainly no patting themselves on the back afterwards. The board just did their job.
Christian values? This Board of Trustees can’t even come up to the standards of a run-of-the-mill HR department. Even when the world is watching.
Liberty University: Defaming the name of Christ for an entire generation.
Unbelievable. What a sad statement for a Christian university. There has been so much exposed sin by so-called Christian leaders in recent years…this has eroded my trust in Christian organizations as a whole. As a believer, I know I must keep my eyes on the Lord and stay in His Word.
It is so sad to see a leader of a Christian University be so careless of the damage his personal life could do to the reputation of that university and the faith of the students. By rewarding him with the generous $10 milllion and no real rebuke they become complicit too.
Threw his wife under the bus and now his daughters in law. Great guy. Sees nothing wrong with what he and his family have done.
His kids work at Liberty too, right? Will they be leaving?
Well, they now can rebrand as Libertyne University. They don’t have to redo all their signs and branding collateral- just add a few more letters.
This is what happens when Christians become entranced with access to power. It ought to serve as a morality tale for all those who would sacrifice principal and integrity for the sheer pragmatism of outward success. Which is what evangelicals have become all too comfortable with. Lord help us.
Let’s see. The President of the University of Michigan (has degrees from Johns Hopkins and Princeton) is currently paid $852,346 a year. Falwell Jr. resigns in disgrace (he should have been terminated for breach of contract- a contract which should have included a morals clause) and now he receiving millions. The Board of Trustees at Liberty should be ashamed of themselves for their complete lack of stewardship.
Tearing up my kids acceptance letter from liberty. Not going to use my tuition money to fill the coffers of this unrepentant, lying, arrogant man.
If it’s anything like Harvest Bible Chapel, not much will change.
After James MacDonald was fired, his daughter continued to work in HR (of all places) for several months.
The daughter of Fred Adams, (who handled the black budget and James spending) still is employed at Harvest School as a teacher.
Still waiting for James and Fred to be behind bars for their stealing.
Instead James and the new Elders/Leadership are in arbitration who after taking millions from tithes is trying to settle for his rights to sermons, WITW……
That is so wrong!
As we watch so many leaders falling from their towers of power due to their pride and arrogance, I can’t help but think of what a contrast that is to the humility of Jesus Christ as described in Philippians 2:5–6.
Oh, to be like HIM in front of our watching world . . .
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5–11
By paying Mr.Falwell a $1MM/year salary it should be obvious to any right thinking person that the problem is the Liberty Board. Mr. Falwell has been involved with ungodly behaviour for years and yet no Board member made any effort to reveal it.
God says in Lev.19:17 “‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.” Instead of rebuking Mr. Falwell for sin and refusing to discipline him for immoral behaviour, the Board has rewarded him instead. That means that they are just as guilt.
Proverbs 30:20 “This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Adultery is like that, including spiritual adultery where a man like Jerry Fallwell Jr. lusts after the things of the world, gets what he wants and brazenly denies he’s done anything wrong.
And then there is the board which has supported him all along. As deceived as the man they just paid off. Disgusted.
This article grieves my heart, but honestly I just thought – how desperately I need Jesus Christ because my own heart is so full of sin. I think we are paying the price in our Christian culture for minimizing sin.This behaviour should be condemned, repentance prayed for.
This is the work of the enemy because the many good people who love Jesus and want to serve Him are discredited by this man’s sinful folly.
But what should hurt us the most is that the beautiful name of Christ is shamed by these kinds of things. Oh that we would not tolerate such wickedness in the church nor that we would hand power to leaders within the church without accountability mechanisms in place, we have plenty of evidence of that need.
Thank you. I agree with all that you said. My own heart also is so full of sin. We must each get up daily and put on Christ lest we allow the sin in our own hearts to lead us or to spill out and harm others.
Christians seem not to care about the impact our actions have on an unbelieving world and culture. It is incredibly difficult to share Christ with unbelievers these days. They are well aware of the immoral and illegal behaviors of so many Christian leaders.
Jerry Falwell’s antics have been discussed for years on secular websites. There’s more to this story that will be exposed but what a shame that it’s wicked people who are sounding the alarm that led to him finally being removed him from leadership.
Christian culture only seems to care about the salacious details, the money trail, the politics of the wayward person or “restoration.” Accountability or true repentance are bad words. We have to get past those prerequisites for restoration and “restore” the person ASAP because “we’ve all sinned.” And of course no thought or discussion is given to what this person’s behavior has done in the hearts of the unbeliever or to the reputation of Christ.
I can quibble with how much university presidents are paid–seven figures is getting common, just like for football and basketball coaches–but regarding the eight million bucks for retirement, that’s deferred compensation, and I think trying to take that back would set off a legal fight that would cost far more than it would save.
Regarding the rest, it’s about the same amount that MSU paid Lou Anna Simon to go away in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, and she appears to have been culpable in the matter as well. So while I tend to believe Mr. Granda’s account of things, and that Mr. Falwell has gotten a special level of sick, I’m not quite sure how much we can do about it.
Perhaps the best revenge on Falwell here is that there is a fair amount of evidence that, apart from building Liberty’s brand, he’s not been a terribly good businessman lately, far overpaying for a fitness center well off campus and investing millions in a money-losing youth hostel in Miami. So along the lines of “a fool and his money are soon parted”, you know.
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