“God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down A Dynasty” | THE REVIEW

Last Updated: November 18, 2022By Tags: , , , ,

The hypocrisy of religion, the bigoted truth about the moral majority and the bawdy sexual proclivities of Jerry Falwell Jr. and his swinging wife are front and center in Billy Corben’s sharp documentary “God Forbid: The Sex Scandal that Brought Down a Dynasty.”

The film dives right into the nasty business of yet more disreputable goings-on in the American Christian community, thanks to its full access to the young man who was the eye of the scandalous storm, Giancarlo Granda.

Full of sex and lies and deceit, Corben’s film is certainly salacious but consistently watchable.

It all began in March of 2012 at a popular Miami Beach hotel where a twenty year-old Granda was working as a pool attendant. An attractive older woman was watching him and even taking pictures. Confessing that he was a young horny man, Granda accepts the woman’s proposition to join her back in her room.

The woman turned out to be Becki Falwell, wife of Liberty “University” President Jerry Falwell Jr.

What followed would lead to the downfall of the Falwells and their status in Christian society.

Falwell Jr. would please himself as he watched his wife have sex with the handsome young Granda (the Falwells continue to deny Jerry was present during the sexual meetings between Becki and Granda.)

Their threesome was already twisted, as Becki claimed she fell in love with him, but this naive young man was swept up in shady business dealings and blackmail while the Falwells used him every step of the way.

Moving through the dangerous rise of racist conservative Jerry Falwell Sr. through his death in 2007, the film observes how the legacy of the entire Falwell family is about power, the almighty dollar, and the preservation of a White-ruled country.

As Jerry Jr. takes over as head of the University, we see how Falwell Jr. was in it for the cash, a lot of which he used to fund he and his wife’s hedonistic lifestyle and cover outstanding debts left behind by his father. In all of this, Granda was a pawn and fall guy, as the Falwells brought him in on a seven-figure business deal to run a Florida-based hostel. Private jets and meetings with then-candidate Donald Trump were a big deal for a young man his age.

Once Granda tried to end the sexual relationship, Becki Falwell became obsessed, flooding his phone with texts. As this began to happen, the problems increased and the strange relationship between The Falwells and their boy toy began to find its way to the media.

In August of 2020 a journalist for Reuters uncovered it all and everything went public. After being used, defamed, and nearly ruined, Granda fought back. Very soon, Jerry Falwell Jr. fell from grace, and fell hard, stepping down as president of his university.


Is this a sordid look at a sleazy story? Of course, but it is much more. Corben’s intent is to lure viewers in with the promise of mouth-watering tabloid goodies only to turn the tables and take aim at the treacherous dealings of evangelical politics and how the Christian right came to be a modern-day cult of bigotry, hate, and violence.

It is the director’s focus on the true power of the story that prevents this from becoming TMZ-inspired fodder.

“God Forbid” wisely lets Granda tell his story. Consistently portrayed in the media as “The Pool Boy,” it is past time for him to reclaim his name and reputation.

There is no denying how naïve this young man was at the time, but rarely can we find a 20-year-old who isn’t wise to the ways of the world. With the promise of sex, money, and prominence, Granda can be forgiven for allowing himself to be seduced.

Jerry Falwell Jr. is an alcoholic who wanted to be known as a “kingmaker.” Becki Falwell is a sex-starved woman who used her status to prey on young men. The Falwell’s are revealed to be predators, both sexually and psychologically. Granda was far from the only victim.

Billy Corben’s documentary shows the hard truths. Christianity was born of hypocrisy and racism and violence. Today, it has become more dangerous than ever.

Christian extremism (read white evangelicalism) has spilled its violence onto the streets of this country and can be linked all the way to the insurrection of January 6th, 2021. Corben smoothly connects all the dots to where there is no doubt.

Jerry Falwell Jr. built his now toppled kingdom on this radicalism and used it for financial and political gains. In many ways, he brought to fruition his late father’s goal of destroying Democracy under the guise of God.

Almost constantly drunk in public and always horny and money hungry, Falwell Jr. is the face of the sanctimonious religious terrorism that fuels much of the hate in America today. The man continues to be the monster in wolf’s clothing.

As Granda says (quoting his mother), “Oh, I understand now. It’s all show. They have a public image but, behind the scenes, they’re all freaks.”

Giancarlo Granda has cleansed himself of the Falwells and the detritus they left behind. This young man fought hard and reclaimed his life.

“God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down A Dynasty” is a tribute to his courage and a warning to us all.

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