Fayner Posts: This is Allan MacDonell, my former boss at Hustler. I got a lot from him and for that reason I’m giving back. This is an excerpt from his book Prisoner of X about his adventures at Hustler up until he was fired. Me reprinting this chapter in no way means I feel the same way about Larry Flynt and the whole Hustler world as Allan does. Free speech is our last freedom and I support it until I die. I suggest you go out and buy it today, and to show how fair we are may we also suggest buying Larry’s many books too.


IT TAKES A special person to work at Hustler magazine for 20 years

and not crack up. From the dawn of the Reagan Administration well

into Bush II, I was bombarded daily by sharply focused images of

naked women and bare-assed men locked in the most primal and

private activity human beings engage in other than defecation, and

I’d been shown that too. I viewed these images, literally 1,000 every

day, through powerful magnifying lenses ground in Germany. I

evaluated each photograph for its prurient appeal, and selected the

most effective among them to be presented to a drooling audience,

a large portion of which would have paid a month of their salaries

to spend a week on my job.

As a writer, I cranked out service pieces on how to dump a

girlfriend before she dumps you, on romancing welfare mothers,

on capturing for a moment the erotic affections of rich women,

crazy women, gorgeous women, angry women, new age women,

promiscuous women, aging women, and women with severe eating

disorders. I clarified at least one mystery of the universe in a feature

titled “Creeps: Why Women Love Us.”

I’d been airlifted to a remote Nevada highway and embedded at

a house of prostitution there. I’d infiltrated a convention of soldierof-

fortune mercenaries, and penetrated San Quentin Prison’s death

row to interview a man convicted of murdering two consecutive

wives. I’d tagged along to the south of France with a planeload of

porn starlets who plied their trade to private fans at up to $5,000

per scene. I’d spent three hours in a cell with a tape recorder and

one of California’s most notorious serial killers. I’d hopped a redeye

to Atlanta, Georgia, where I delivered a staggering cashier’s check

to the second ex-wife of family-values congressman Bob Barr.

I entered the strange and titillating environment of Larry Flynt

Publications as a married 27-year-old clinging to the shreds of a

Roman Catholic education. Tentative at first, jumpy around all the

sexual triggers, I quickly adopted a jaded sensualism which was put

to the test once my wife had split. Acclimating well, I assumed a

supervisory position within the hotbed of anarchy and depravity at

LFP. I hired and indoctrinated others to the Hustler way. I directed

talented underlings in the creation of aberrant literature and curiously

lewd photographic scenarios. I trained attractive young

women to compose debauched sexual memoirs, and then I made

suggestions for improving their grammar. Hustler was not the vilest

magazine on the market, but we tried.

Private sex videos never intended for public consumption

crossed my desk, souvenirs that purported to show Ted Turner in a

manic kinky mood with Jane Fonda, young Pam Anderson satisfying

the singer from Poison, Chuck Berry despoiling a string of

anonymous partners, some of whom treated Chuck (if indeed that

was Chuck) to a bite of poo, Anna Nicole Smith playing the nude,

inebriated seductress in a hotel bathtub, Mick Jagger captured by

a crafty, spread-eagle stripper barely one-third his age, and Courtney

Love cavorting with Scott Weiland of the Stone Temple Pilots. I

came away with the opinion that all of these tapes were probably

authentic, but I had learned to mistrust reality at large.

In 1998, I was plunged into the chamber pot of national politics.

Suddenly, at the height of the frenzy surrounding the impeachment

of President Bill Clinton, my actions were creating headlines in the

Washington Post and being cited in New York Times and Wall Street

Journal Op-Ed columns. There I was on prime-time TV, arguing

public morality with big-haired news-channel blowhards. Functioning

as equal parts reporter and vandal, I hounded down adulterous

Congressional hypocrites wherever Larry Flynt’s lure of a milliondollar

reward could flush them out. Before the smoke and mirrors

had cleared, the Speaker-elect had resigned from the United States

House of Representatives in the face of my insinuation that Hustler

had uncovered proof of his extramarital follies.

After having saved Bill Clinton’s pasty ass, if not his legacy, I

continued to guide staffs of writers and artists in producing the sarcasm,

muckraking, celebrity bashing and go-for-the-throat

eroticism of America’s most iconoclastic stroke book, as well as

being overlord on a half-dozen ancillary publications—Taboo, Barely

Legal, Chic, Asian Fever, Busty Beauties, Honey Buns. At 46, a

seasoned veteran of hardcore anti-journalism, I reigned over a fiefdom

of quick-witted geeks with graduate degrees and no concept of

a career path. Then I made one crucial blunder in my relationship

with Larry Flynt, a faux pas so colossal that I must have committed

it deliberately. Soon after, I was fired.

From my first day as an axed employee, casual acquaintances,

relatives and former co-workers told me I should write the book on

Hustler. To everyone who didn’t have to write it, the book was a nobrainer,

but I had to wonder: What is the specific idea? Do I intend

to produce an exposé of Larry Flynt? How do you pitch a tell-all of

a man who is on record as having had sex with a chicken?

Oprah tosses up her hands: “The man admits to raping a fowl.

Are you telling me there is more?”

In fact, there is plenty more, but this book racket is turning out

to be more work than I am accustomed to. Trying to make things

easy on myself, I reached out to several former Hustler co-workers.

Many of these are decent, conflicted men and women. A few are

porno scumbags. I asked everybody the same questions: What had

working in the peculiar biosphere of LFP been like for you? What

memories typified or evoked the experience?

Most everyone agreed that their Hustler tenure had been weird

and less than entirely pleasant. All the former employees I contacted

shared one common thing that separated them from me: they’d come

to Larry Flynt Publications, and then they continued on their way,

having outgrown the Hustler environment. Maybe it wasn’t a question

of growth for all of them. Perhaps a few had simply burnt out on the

beaver shots, the institutionalized paranoia and the unrelenting satire.

The point is, these burnouts had moved on. My growth, if that’s what I

chose to call it, had all been confined within the structure of LFP.

I’d come in as an assistant nobody and risen to the top, like

scum on a cup of hot chocolate. If this progression had occurred at

Condé Nast, I’d be pushing my publicist for a five-page profile in

Forbes. When we met during the filming of The People vs. Larry

Flynt, actor Woody Harrelson, who portrayed Larry in the movie,

said, “You’re the guy who’s got the best job in the world.” If so, why

did I start my car every morning, then sit behind the wheel for 10

minutes debating whether or not to open the garage door?

A tougher question might be: how did I thrive so long in a

bizarro world of bodyguards, cracker-rich hillbillies and high-gloss

cumshots? Now here is an interesting question of character: what

the fuck was wrong with me?





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