Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. insulted his students behind their backs, according to emails unearthed by Reuters. And the university’s Twitter account was used to indirectly call him a “greedy hypocrite.”
Falwell has come under scrutiny this past year for his leadership of the conservative evangelical university and his financial deals with young, beautiful men. An expose published by Politico this week presented numerous accusations of sexual and fiduciary impropriety from university officials.
But until now no one has accused him of just being mean to his own students.
In a 2010 email obtained by Reuters, Falwell said a student who has not been named in the media was “emotionally imbalanced and physically retarded.”
In a 2008 email, he called some students “social misfits.”
He didn’t just insult Liberty students. He called the engineering school’s former dean Ronald Sones “a bag of hot air” who “couldn’t spell the word ‘profit.'”
The campus police chief was “a half-wit and easy to manipulate” according to Falwell, and the associate athletics director was called incompetent: “Only get Kevin involved in something if you want it not to work,” Falwell wrote in an email.
Falwell, who took over the presidency of Liberty in 2007 when his father died, was also insulted by the university.
The school’s official Twitter account linked an article on Get Religion that was supposed to respond the the Politico expose… but which called Falwell a “greedy hypocrite.”
"Sorry, but Politico's long exposé on Jerry Falwell Jr. lacks adequate named sources to be taken seriously"
— Liberty University (@LibertyU) September 10, 2019
But the column doesn’t really respond to the expose. Instead, it notes that many of the accusations are made by unnamed sources, which readers already knew. The expose also had emails, photos, and public records that supported the sources’ accusations.
The author even acknowledges the evidence and writes (emphasis ours), “Certainly, it should be stressed, too, that Politico’s piece contains a fair amount of on-the-record material that seems to support its case that Falwell is a greedy hypocrite more in love with power and politics than a crucified savior who washed people’s feet.”
That’s hardly a stirring defense of one of America’s most prominent Christian conservative leaders.
The tweet may have been an accident or it may have been some next-level shade. Either way, even though Right Wing Watch posted about the tweet yesterday afternoon, the tweet has not been deleted.
Falwell, for his part, said that the accusations in the Politico article are from “disgruntled” former board members who want to end his presidency. As for the email evidence Politico found, he said he contacted the FBI because those emails are stolen university property.