In a revelation straight from cliché heaven, a report emerged on Monday that Jerry Falwell and his wife Becki Falwell had engaged in a long-term sexual relationship with a pool boy. Giancarlo Granda said that he met the Falwells as a 20-year-old pool attendant at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in 2012. The encounter blossomed into a six-year relationship in which Mr. Falwell watched Mr. Granda have sexual intercourse with his wife multiple times a year. In a statement on the issue Mr. Falwell opted not to become the figurehead of a new Christian poly movement but, instead, followed the conservative Christian sexual ethics playbook and blamed his wife.
In the Aug. 23 statement that quotes from the King James version of the Bible, Falwell, Jr., a leading evangelical supporter of President Trump, said that “Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with [Granda that he] was not involved [in].” Falwell includes a quote about adultery from the Sermon on the Mount, one about forgiveness from Ephesians, and one about trust in God from the book of Proverbs. He also reveals that the stress and “trauma” of being pressured by Granda led Falwell to experience depression and extreme weight loss (in the past he proudly attributed his weight loss to a lifestyle change). To Falwell’s credit, he at least reflects on what he himself might have done to contribute to this breach of marital trust, but this self-reflection might uncharitably be described as performative.
There are obviously two versions to this story. In one Falwell was a willing participant in an atypical yet consensual sexual relationship between adults, but one that would significantly undermine his position as an influential figure in American political and religious affairs. In another, which is more palatable to his Christian base, he is a betrayed husband struggling to come to terms with his wife’s affair. Several days later Becki Falwell issued her own statement in which she confirmed her husband’s story. There are still some unexplained details, however. For example, if Falwell was deceived, why was he allegedly on a call with Granda and Becki telling Granda not to make Becki jealous?