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Larry Flynt speaks at book signing at Hustler Casino in Gardena

from www.dailybreeze.com – He’s been called the Peddler of Porn, the Sultan of Smut, the Oracle of the Obscene.

But to many, Larry Flynt is a tireless protector of free speech rights, a savvy businessman, a champion of the American spirit.

To others, he’s a crass opportunist.

And with the April release of his new book, “One Nation Under Sex,” the adult industry icon can add a new name to the list: Noted historian.

Flynt spoke last week in Gardena about the book, co-written with Columbia University political science and history professor David Eisenbach. It details how the private lives of U.S. politicians and other historical figures have influenced public policy and the course of American history. The book was released by Palgrave Macmillan.

Flynt said he wrote the book because he wanted to examine in a historical context the effect sexual-fueled scandals have had on American politics.

“All my research indicates that most politicians have very big egos and very strong libidos,” Flynt, 68, said in an interview, his voice just above a whisper.

“They feed their egos through sexual conquests. Think of all the ones who don’t get caught.”

Flynt rolled into his Hustler Casino in his trademark gold-plated wheelchair and spent about an hour shaking hands, posing for pictures, chatting with fans and signing copies of his new book. As Flynt spoke, he was flanked by armed bodyguards and Hustler girls in short black dresses.

The onetime candidate for California governor and publisher of Hustler magazine said he spent two years collaborating on the book with Eisenbach and an additional three years conducting his own research.

Standing in the front of the line to meet Flynt was Lora Kinzli, who drove up from Newport Beach. She arrived three hours early. She first became a fan after watching “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” the 1996 biopic starring Woody Harrelson that focuses on Flynt’s rise to fame and his First Amendment battle against the Rev. Jerry Falwell that ended with Flynt’s victory before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“He has been courageous enough to speak out on issues that a lot of people don’t want to talk about,” said Kinzli, 42, over the sounds of shuffling casino chips.

“I don’t agree with all of Larry’s views, but he has stood up for things others aren’t willing to stand up for. He’s one in a million.”

Next to her was Kim Huynh, who runs a sex blog and was visiting Los Angeles on business. Huynh said she admired Flynt for his work to battle hypocrisy and disassociate connections people have between sex and shame.

“He addresses the problem of how we glorify violence while demonizing sexuality,” said Huynh, 27.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating the beauty of the female body.”

Richard Castaldo, 29, a Los Angeles resident, said he admired Flynt for pursuing his free speech case and persevering in the face of adversity.

“I knew he got shot too, like I did,” said Castaldo, who survived multiple gunshot wounds during the Columbine shootings and, like Flynt, is now paralyzed from the chest down.

“I thought it was cool to go to the Supreme Court and defend our freedom of speech like that. Not many people would have done that.”

And Gardena resident Jennifer Luque said she admired Flynt for fighting against censorship.

“He’s not just important because of his pornography,” added Luque, 37. “He’s important when it comes to history because they tried to censor him, and he won.”

Still, for all his fans, Flynt continues to have his detractors.

He made headlines and angered some when he offered Casey Anthony, the Orlando mother acquitted by a Florida jury in July of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, more than $500,000 to pose nude in Hustler.

No word yet whether the 25-year-old will take Flynt up on the offer.

“The mainstream media, they’re not going to her because of controversy,” Flynt said.

“(Hugh) Hefner is such a doofus, you know, he wouldn’t do it. She needs money and will always need money and I figured I’d probably be the only game in town. I haven’t heard from her. But I think after the smoke clears she’ll seek me out.”

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