Larry Flynt on Fred Phelps and Free Speech

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A case coming up before the Supreme Court today will test the limits of free speech.

In Snyder v. Phelps, the anti-gay protestor Fred Phelps is being sued by the father of Matthew Snyder, a 20-year-old Marine who died in Iraq. In 2006, Phelps' group, the Westboro Baptist Church, picketed 1,000 feet from Snyder’s funeral with signs saying “You are Going to Hell” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” The father wants to see the WBC punished for "intentional infliction of emotional distress."

The Supreme Court has, in the past, proved itself willing to protect even the most extreme versions of free speech. Our guest, Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, knows that very well. He came up before the court almost twenty years ago with a now-famous free speech case of his own.


Larry Flynt

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [5]


Interesting new development regarding this issue:

Looks like Flynt's got some 'splaining to do.

Oct. 07 2010 11:32 PM
J from CT

Michael.. It seems that all your family is capable of is being hate-mongering, sue happy bigots. I joyfully await the day you and the entire scum that are members of the Westboro Baptist Church are "taken out" by a grieving family while you protest outside their fallen loved ones funeral. It is only a matter of time, young man. If you were smart, like all you Phelps' claim to be, then you would leave that hell that is WBC. Your life will eventually depend on it.

SCOTUS restricting your families "right" to protest outside ANYONE's funeral, is not harmful to a single soul. In fact, speech such as yours ought to be illegal to the highest degree.. and I pray deeply that SCOTUS follows through with what is morally right in this case. Afterall.. I would imagine a vast, vast majority in this country do not have your best interests at heart, and SCOTUS WILL take that into consideration. Your days of vile bigotry are numbered. I wouldn't be sad to find out that you've all been banned from the USA, much like you are in the UK.

Oh.. and when the blessed day FINALLY comes, I whole heartedly plan on eating a nice big, gut-churning meal of mexican food, then proceed to deficate ALL over your "Gramps'" hole in the ground. Glory be the day that that pedophile doesn't exist anymore. My opinions though.

Oct. 07 2010 09:18 AM
Michael from Topeka

Nate, shows how much of a hypocrite you are. If THEIR rights to free speech and bashing are diminished, we all know yours will as well. [OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE REMOVED] Take it from someone who as actually BEEN on those picket lines (AKA NOT you). If this case decides against WBC, it will affect EVERYONE. It will turn our freedom of speech upside down, and you can expect a lawsuit from your siblings for the crap that spews out of your mouth. I told Tim and Joe they shouldn't waste their time on you.

Oct. 07 2010 04:13 AM

The next question is, could this be considered harassment (of the mourning families) and if so, how illegal is THAT?

Oct. 06 2010 06:18 PM
Nate Phelps from Calgary, Alberta

I've been asked by a lot of people what I think about this case against my father. My own opinion on this matter flows from the certainty that no founding father could have imagined ever having to deal with people standing outside a funeral taunting the family and loved ones of the deceased. It is my hope that this is the reason the Court agreed to hear this case and that they will find good cause to protect the rights of mourners from the untimely exercise of free speech rights.

In other words, the limitation of my family's right to speak freely and exercise their religion outside a funeral should not be viewed as an onerous burden on them or anyone else in our society. Nor should it be viewed as an intolerable erosion of our rights to free speech. There already exists a pantheon of exceptions to the right of free speech. If ever there existed a new, justifiable, restriction on free speech, it is this one.

Oct. 06 2010 05:26 PM

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