Jerry Falwell, Jr., has been placed on an indefinite leave of absence from his role as president and chancellor of Liberty University, after he posted a bizarre image on social media earlier this month. The Executive Committee of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees met Friday and requested that he take the leave of absence and Falwell agreed, according to the university.
Falwell posted, then deleted, a photo on Instagram earlier this month showing him and another woman on a yacht with their pants unzipped. Falwell was holding a beverage, and had his arm was around the woman. Falwell offered an apology and explanation, but not before the photo went viral.
Falwell said he had apologized for everyone involved, but claimed the picture was part of a “costume party.”
Jerry Provo, chairman of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement that the university has thrived academically, financially and spiritually under Falwell, but “unfortunately, with this success and the burdens of leading a large and growing organization comes substantial pressure.”
“Today, my colleagues and I on the Liberty University Board of Trustees and Jerry mutually agreed that it would be good for him to take an indefinite leave of absence,” Prevo said.
Falwell, a strong supporter of President Trump, is no stranger to controversy. He reopened Liberty University’s campus to students in March, while other schools were closing, and the school later had to close due to a coronavirus outbreak. He’s also made sweeping racial comments about Muslims, and defended the president after hisand the Access Hollywood tape.
Falwell Jr. took over the university from his father, Jerry Falwell Sr., in 2007. The school is a conservative Christian university in southwest Virginia.
It’s unclear who will take Falwell’s place for the time being, or whether Falwell’s leave is paid or unpaid.