Members of the Utah State Legislature began receiving the latest issue of Hustler magazine in the mail this week after founder Larry Flynt promised to provide a free copy to lawmakers in response to a recent resolution that decried pornography as a “public health hazard.”
The 73-year-old publishing tycoon and self-proclaimed “smut peddler who cares” said in April that he would be sending copies to Hustler to lawmakers in Utah after Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed his name to to S.C.R. 9, a non-binding resolution that blamed content like the kind contained in Mr. Flynt’s magazine as causing a “public health crisis.”
“[T]he Utah Legislature is obviously confused about what constitutes a public health crisis, so I’ll send them our latest issue and they can see for themselves that we’re no danger to the public, only to the repressed,” Mr. Flynt said at the time.
The publisher proved to be true to his word this week after members of the Legislature confirmed that a special election-year anniversary edition of issue of Hustler had arrived in their mailboxes.
Republican State Sen. Todd Weiler, the author of the anti-porn resolution, received his copy on Monday but said he had no plans of parsing it, St. Lake City’s FOX 13 reported.
“I’m not sure what it’s designed to accomplish, other than it probably helps my efforts more than it hurts them,” Mr. Weiler told the St. Lake Tribune. “I do think it will rile up some of my colleagues, and not in the way Larry Flynt is hoping.”
According to the Fox affiliate, several Republican members of the state Legislature said they trashed the magazine after receiving their mail.
“I got a package that I put in the garbage here. I haven’t opened it,” said Rep. Kay Christofferson. “I think it’s a pretty ineffective method of convincing us that we made the wrong choice on our vote. If anything, it makes me realize how desperate they are in trying to protect their turf.”
“It came in as trash and it’s now going out as trash,” added Rep. Mike McKell.
On Twitter, Rep. Timothy Hawkes thanked Mr. Flynt on behalf of his recycling bin and claimed to have responded in kind by forwarded the publisher a copy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ “Ensign” magazine.
“Utah, in our eyes and [Flynt’s] eyes, is only dragging this out to satisfy religious zealots in the state, so we wanted to remind everyone that this is not a crisis, but a political opportunity for legislators,” Flynt Management Group spokesman Evan Roosevelt told the Tribune.
Hustler’s commemorative 42nd-anniversary edition came out Tuesday this week, and in it Mr. Flynt vows to “continue to publish with no apologies and no compromises.” The magazine was launched in 1974, and Mr. Flynt has provided a free, unsolicited subscription to every member of the U.S. Congress since 1983.