“The big lie of pornography is, ‘There are no victims.’ I am a victim of pornography” claims Tonya Flynt-Vega, the daughter of Larry Flynt, owner and publisher of the hard core porn magazine, Hustler.

Flynt-Vega says the film, The People vs. Larry Flynt, paints her father as a free press champion. “He’s not a hero. He’s a pornographer, a pimp and a child molester.”

Flynt-Vega, 32, made the allegations during a media blitz in Toronto, Feb. 4-5. She says her father made her pose topless for Hustler at 19 and that she suffered sexual abuse from him when she was younger.

“What is wrong with pornography is not that it shows too much, but that it shows too little of the women, of their lives, of the truth,” she said. “I was never shielded from its brutality. At ten I woke up sweating and crying from violent sexual dreams.”

The American edition of Hustler is so graphic, only a tamer “international” version is allowed distribution in Canada. The U.S. edition features photos of women mutilated or dismembered, smeared in excrement, urinating or being violated by animals. Its most infamous image is of a woman being minced through a meat grinder.

“The degradation, humiliation and torture of women is not mentioned in the film,” Flynt-Vega told TVO’s Studio 2. She said the director, Milos Forman, has admitted he has never looked at a copy Hustler. Forman has been nominated for an academy award for best director and Woody Harrelson, who plays Flynt, for best actor.

Gloria Steinem told the Arts and Entertainment Network, “If Larry Flynt were talking about Jews, about Blacks, about Italians, about Puerto Ricans, about any other group, he would not be the hero of these film-makers.”

Title misleading

“The very title of the movie is a lie” wrote Hanna Rosin in a devastating critique in The New Republic in January. “The case wasn’t “The People vs. Larry Flynt. It was Falwell vs. Flynt. It wasn’t… an effort by the state to censor free speech. It was a libel case… by one citizen, the Rev. Jerry Falwell to prove that another citizen, Larry Flynt, had lied about him in publishing a parody interview in which Falwell talks about having sex with his mother.”

Flynt-Vega maintains that her millionaire father went to court simply “to protect his assets.”

Nor does he seem interested in protecting his daughter’s freedom of speech. Flynt-Vega claims her father has twice threatened her life if she ever wrote a book about him. She says he has also spoken of abducting her daughter.

Flynt-Vega believes that The People vs. Larry Flynt “mainstreams and legitimizes pornography” by stressing only the free speech issue. “It is an incredible lie not based at all on his life” she told TVO. She believes Oliver Stone, the film’s producer has “intentionally sanitized” her father.

The New Republic quotes scriptwriter Scott Alexander as admitting, “We knew we needed a real star because the subject matter was so strange. The studio would not have been comfortable if we had gone with Tom Arnold.” (Former husband of low-brow comedian Rosanne Barr) Arnold matches Flynt’s true physique. Instead Flynt sheds about 200 pounds when he is played by the more attractive Woody Harrelson.

Flynt-Vega was one of five children that Flynt fathered but didn’t live with. He had four wives. The film only shows Althea, his fourth.

Flynt-Vega told Michael Coren on CFRB that she grew up with her mother, Flynt’s second wife, in welfare housing. When she visited her father’s mansion, her father would chain the fridge, warning Tonya and her sister that he “Didn’t want any fat daughters.” According to Flynt-Vega, he put his daughters on a liquid diet. Ignoring his own obesity, he wanted them to loose five pounds a week.

Olive Stone’s film reports that the man who shot and paralysed Flynt has never been captured; it implies the shooting was a government conspiracy. Flynt-Vega says the attacker, whom she names, is an avowed racist, and is currently serving time in jail.

Flynt-Vega says her father partly financed the film because he “wants to buy himself a respectable name in history.”

Is Tonya just trying to cash in on her father’s fortune? She claims that she was in his will until she started speaking out.

CBC News and CBC Newsworld are planning to run clips of their interviews with Flynt-Vega when the Oscar nominations are announced.