Charles Keating Was "the Scum of the Earth," Says Porn Titan Larry Flynt
Savings and loan swindler Charles Keating, who died Monday in Phoenix at age 90, hated pornography. Or so he claimed.
The devout Roman Catholic made a name for himself in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, and beyond, as a scourge of smut, founding an influential anti-porn organization that eventually became known as Citizens for Decency through Law.
But Keating also reputedly possessed a massive porn collection.
In the 1993 book Trust Me: Charles Keating and the Missing Billions, authors Michael Binstein and Charles Bowden tell a story of a reporter who went to interview Keating about his preoccupation with porn.
courtesy LFP, Inc. Larry Flynt was for many years the bete noir of swindler and anti-porn crusader Charles Keating
For the edification of the unnamed journalist, Keating whipped "some color photographs out of his desk of women having sex with pigs," referring to them as "the latest imports from Denmark."
Those who have seen the 1996 Milos Forman film The People vs. Larry Flynt, know that Keating's hypocrisy focused for a time on the publisher of Hustler magazine, who started off in Ohio, just next door to Flynt's home state of Kentucky.
Keating (played by James Cromwell in the film) led an effort to run Flynt out of town on a rail. Local prosecutor and Keating ally Simon Leis succeeded in getting Flynt convicted on obscenity charges in 1977, though Flynt only spent about a week in jail and the conviction was overturned on appeal.
Keating eventually moved to Phoenix and began a financial and real-estate empire that ended with the collapse of Lincoln Savings and Loan, the Keating Five scandal, and Keating's conviction on state and federal charges of fraud and racketeering.
For Flynt, 71, the best revenge seems to be survival and success. Though the publishing industry has been in decline for several years, Flynt's privately held portfolio of businesses includes casinos, gentlemen's clubs, adult broadcasting, retail outlets, and x-rated video-on-demand, among other lucrative ventures.
CBS Sunday Morning reported in January that Flynt told them he was worth a half-billion dollars.
Flynt spoke with me today via phone from his home in Los Angeles to discuss Keating's recent demise.
What were your thoughts on hearing that Charles Keating had died?
Well, I never say anything bad about anybody who's passed on, but no one deserved it more than him. All those years in the '70s when he was having me prosecuted for having published obscenity, he was stealing money from those little ol' people in Lincoln Savings and Loan. He's the scum of the earth.
He spearheaded the prosecution of me [in Cincinnati]. Unbelievable. An old story you might appreciate -- I talked to an attorney who attended a party at Keating's house....He was showing the movie Deep Throat at his home.