Hulu's provocative new documentary, "God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty," takes us back to August 2020, when news of Jerry Falwell Jr.'s sex scandal first became public knowledge. At the center of it all was Jerry Jr., his wife Becki and Giancarlo Granda — an attractive, twenty-something ex-pool boy who was locked into a seven-year-long affair with the couple.
Jerry Jr. had already emerged as a contentious figure, not for what he did behind closed doors but rather, for what he did publicly. The son of disgraced televangelist Jerry Falwell, Jerry Jr. served as the former president of the Christian college, Liberty University, up until his subsequent resignation, and an ardent endorser of ex-president Donald Trump and the Republican Party. His endorsement was so well-received that the Trump administration allegedly offered Jerry Jr. the position of Education Secretary, which he ultimately turned down.
"God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty" takes the spotlight away from Jerry Jr. and shines it on Granda, who appears in front of the camera to share his story and recount details of the prolonged sexual threesome. Granda's sister, investigative journalist Megan K. Stack and journalist Mark Ebner, who co-wrote Granda's new memoir, are also featured in the documentary.
Here are the 6 most shocking moments from the Hulu documentary:
While working as a pool attendant at Miami Beach's luxurious Fontainebleau hotel, Granda met Becki Falwell, who he said was sitting by the pool and taking photos of him from afar. Granda recalled that Becki had told him, "Don't waste your time with the younger ones, they don't know what they are doing." She invited him back to her room and explained that her husband, Jerry Jr., also wanted to watch the pair have sex.
That night, Granda received a phone call from Becki via a blocked private number. She asked that Granda meet her and her husband at a nearby Days Inn instead of at their Fontainebleau room because their children were staying there. Granda met Becki in the lobby of the hotel, where she gave him a cup of Jack Daniel's whiskey to calm his nerves and proceeded to stroke his inner thigh.
"I was a horny 20-year-old. There really is no other explanation other than that," Granda sheepishly confessed in the documentary.
Granda said that when he and Becki went up to her hotel room, Jerry Jr. was laid out on the bed with his jeans unzipped and a drink in his hand. While Granda and Becki had sex, which was "anything but penetrative," Jerry Jr. took off his jeans and masturbated in the corner.
Per the documentary, "The Falwells have denied that Jerry was ever present during the sexual liasons between Becki and Giancarlo."
"The Falwells are the Southern Gatsbys," said Ebner in the documentary. "They are wealthy and sloppy as f**k."
Jerry Jr.'s father, Jerry Falwell, was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the founder of Liberty University, a private evangelical university also located in Lynchburg. His radical preachings and views, such as his claim that gay and lesbian individuals were to blame for the 9/11 attacks, were both revered and criticized by many.
"My father, he would tell his congregation, 'Don't get mad when people tell lies about you, just be glad they don't know the truth,'" Jerry Jr. said in an old clip.
As for Jerry Jr. and Becki, the pair met when the former was 18 years of age and the latter was just 13 years of age. Becki had dropped out of Liberty University to support Jerry Jr., who was studying at the University of Virginia School of Law. She later proposed to him after he obtained his Juris Doctor and took his bar exam.
Stack said that Becki had described her wedding as both "boring" and "awful," mainly because there was no drinking alcohol or dancing. Shortly afterwards, the couple had three children.
"These are two people who have, for a long time, been and remain very much in love," Stack continued. "I don't see any daylight between them. They're just extremely intertwined, psychologically and emotionally. It's very unusual to come across a married couple like that."
After the Fontainebleau encounter, Becki continued her affair with Granda and in one instance, invited him to stay the weekend with her and her husband at the Cheeca Lodge & Spa. Granda said the couple's nightly sleeping arrangements were really bizarre — Granda and Becky would sleep together on the bed while Jerry Jr. slept alone on the couch nearby.
Becki and Granda's relationship escalated pretty quickly. The pair texted and called each other everyday and flirted incessantly. Just three weeks into their affair, Becky also told Granda that she loved him. Over time, Granda also grew closer to Jerry Jr. after they bonded over business and real-estate. The trio's dynamic, which began merely as a sexual relationship, soon evolved into a kind-of ménage à trois.
Money also became a major component in their relationship when Jerry Jr. helped launch Granda into the real-estate business.
"I thought, well, maybe, they can help him in some way and however weird this thing started, maybe it will turn into something good," said Granda's sister, Lilia Granda, who was skeptical of the trio's dynamic from the get-go.
During a New York City trip, Becki and Granda had penetrative sex for the first time. Jerry Jr., who previously just watched from the corner, now joined in on the action — after Granda finished having sex with Becki, Jerry Jr. took over "for round two."
Things took a turn for the worse after Granda got into a relationship with a woman closer to his age and attempted to end his relationship with Becki and Jerry Jr. Becki did not receive the news well, so Granda decided to continue an emotional relationship with her (mainly via texts and calls) in lieu of a physical one.
What began as innocent texting, soon became unsettling. One text Granda received from Becki read:
"I was watching some video clips on my phone…WOW. These are two people that are very passionate at love-making! But seeing you in person and looking at you in the eyes makes me want to rip your clothes off and get the sh** f**ked out of me."
Granda also said that if he didn't respond right away, Becki would call him crying. If he didn't respond back for days, Jerry Jr. would then call and emotionally blackmail him.
"Things started slowly morphing into, 'Oh, this is just sex and friendship,' into, 'Now, we're going to control you," Granda said in the documentary. At this point, Granda had two options: he could back out of the relationship for good and lose out on his stake in a multimillion-dollar real estate project or he could just trust the Falwells and "see what happens."
Granda chose the second option.
In the documentary, Granda recalled that the Falwells owned a 500-600 acre farm with a Confederate cemetery and a shooting range in their backyard. He added that Jerry Jr. had once told him, "Well, the good thing is now I know if Becki were to run away with someone, I know who it is. If that were to happen, if she tried to divorce me, I'd probably have her killed."
"At that moment, I really took it as a serious threat," Granda said. "[They] have so much influence, they control this town. If they wanted to make me 'disappear,' they could do it without a trace."
Granda added that Jerry Jr.'s behavior and rhetoric became more radical as time went on.
"He would say we're so close to the Civil War," Granda said.
Fed up with the Falwells' abuse, Granda said he finally confronted Jerry Jr. via text, writing, "Grow a f**king pair of balls. Be a man of your word and live up to your promises. Enough with the bullshit. I was loyal to you and your family for years and you betrayed me. Just own up to your promises and we can move on with our lives in a peaceful manner."
Granda didn't stop there. He then sent a string of texts to Jerry Jr., saying, "I've been threatened several times by your legal team. Since you're okay with ruining my life, I'm going to take the kamikaze route. It really is a shame because I wanted to reach a peaceful resolution and just move on with our lives but if conflict is what you want then so be it."
But the truth allegedly finally came out via a FaceTime video call Granda had with Becki, in which she gave him a tour of her home naked, highlighting all the places she and Granda had sex. At one point during the call, Jerry Jr. made a brief appearance and stuck his head out from a nearby room, completely unfazed by the sight of his naked wife.
The affair was finally exposed on August 24, 2020, when Reuters published a report called "Business partner of Falwells says affair with evangelical power couple spanned seven years." In addition to the Hulu documentary, Granda came forward with his story in a 2022 memoir, "Off the Deep End: Jerry and Becki Falwell and the Collapse of an Evangelical Dynasty."
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