BY DAN HORN
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Larry Flynt says he's been doing some "market research" on how Cincinnatians feel about pornography.
Larry Flynt listens to his lawyer, Louis Sirkin, left, outside the Cincinnatian Hotel. At right is aide Doug Bauer.
(Micahel E. Keating photo)
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So far, he says, the results show he's in the right line of work.
The Hustler magazine publisher discussed the studies Wednesday before he delivered a speech to students at the University of Cincinnati. Mr. Flynt said he has commissioned several polls and focus groups to gauge public sentiment in the months leading up to his trial here on obscenity charges.
While he didn't discuss specific numbers, he said the early returns show that times are beginning to change in conservative Hamilton County.
"There's overwhelming support," he said. "The average person in Hamilton County feels he or she should be able to read or view whatever they want to in the privacy of their own homes."
Mr. Flynt and his brother, Jimmy, are charged with selling obscene videos at their bookstore on Sixth Street downtown. Their trial is set for January.
Mr. Flynt opened the store in hopes of drawing prosecutors into a court battle similar to the one he lost here in 1977. Although that decision was reversed on appeal, Mr. Flynt said Wednesday he wants to avenge the defeat.
"I'm not thumbing my nose at Cincinnati," he said. "I'm thumbing my nose at the prosecutors who are trying to dictate the reading habits of the community."
His latest visit to Cincinnati is part of an informal national tour he launched this year to generate support for his cause.
He said he wanted to speak to UC students because "young people tend to take their rights for granted."
More than 520 people, most of them UC students, turned out to hear Mr. Flynt at Zimmer Auditorium on the university's main campus. Mr. Flynt appeared to be a popular figure among the students.
"I'm surprised so many people turned out," said Aaron Klump, a UC senior. "Usually, after hours, people don't turn out, unless there's beer and food."
Mr. Flynt was greeted by lengthy applause and flashes from cameras.
One female supporter in the audience displayed a sign that read: "If You Don't Like It, Don't Look!!!"
Hustler's publisher left the students with a simple message: "The greatest right that any nation can afford its people is the right to be left alone."
Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Flynt said his plans to push the Constitution to its limits include an expose in Hustler on the sex habits of America's elected officials.
Last month, he took out an ad in The Washington Post offering a $1 million reward to anyone who could prove a congressman or senator had cheated on his or her spouse.
"There's not a doubt in my mind that within a month we're going to shock a lot of people," Mr. Flynt said. "We've got some really bad stuff."
John Hopkins contributed to this story.