Larry Flynt has made it a mission to keep the Republican Presidential Primary a bit more honest, and he’s putting his money where his mouth is. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Larry Flynt is offering a $50,000 to $1 million bounty for anyone who can provide proof that one of Dr. Ben Carson’s top advisers is guilty of sexual harassment.
In an open letter, which will be published in the Monday edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Larry Flynt mentioned a 20-year-old lawsuit against conservative radio host Armstrong Williams, a close friend and adviser to Republican Presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson. In the 1998 lawsuit, Williams’ personal trainer accused the conservative radio host of numerous counts of sexual harassment that included kissing, molestation, and an incident in which Williams allegedly climbed into bed with him. When the trainer rejected Williams’ advances, he claims Williams fired him. Williams settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum.
According to the Hill, Carson and Williams have been friends and business associates since Williams interviewed Carson in the 1990s. Reportedly, Williams suggested Carson run for president, but the idea didn’t seem viable to Dr. Ben Carson until the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. President Obama invited Ben Carson, then a world-renowned brain surgeon, to speak at the breakfast, but the conservative Carson devoted his speech to lambasting the Obama Administration and its policies. Carson’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast catapulted him into the consciousness of conservative American voters and directly led to his presidential bid.
Yet, despite their friendship and William’s position as Carson’s business manager, Carson hasn’t given Williams an official spot on his campaign team. Why is Ben Carson leaving his media savvy friend on the sidelines? Williams has an unfortunate history of scandal and controversy, one that Ben Carson can’t afford to have on his struggling presidential campaign. Armstrong Williams first entered the political arena due to his work with Senator Strom Thurmond and the Reagan White House on issues such as race relations and black outreach. His own political aspirations screeched to a halt after news broke that he advocated for the now-defunct No Child Left Behind law, but failed to reveal that the Department of Education paid him to do so.
Ben Carson doesn’t seem to suffer any illusions that his campaign can survive scrutiny of his association with Armstrong Williams. According to CNN, Carson distanced himself and his campaign from Williams in November, 2015. After a series of foreign policy gaffes called Carson’s viability into question, Armstrong Williams appeared on Bloomberg TV to criticize Carson’s doubters. But Ben Carson later told reporters that Williams has nothing to do with his campaign, and could only speak for himself. It seems like Ben Carson has heeded the advice he no doubt received from his campaign managers: he can be friends with Williams, but if he wants the Oval Office, Williams can’t ride to the White House with him.
That isn’t good enough for Larry Flynt, who is demanding that Ben Carson use Tuesday’s CNN Republican debate to publicly “disavow any and all relations with Williams” to make the bounty go away.
Unfortunately for Dr. Ben Carson, his continuing association with Armstrong Williams is the least of his troubles. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ben Carson plummeted to fourth place among the Republican presidential candidates in a recent poll. The poll, which measures registered voters who say they will vote in the Republican primary, pegs Carson with 11 percent support. Twenty-two percent of primary voters prefer the second most popular candidate, Senator Ted Cruz. Donald Trump remains the front-runner, with 27 percent of likely primary voters saying they plan to vote for him.
Dr. Ben Carson’s Presidential campaign is on borrowed time. Larry Flynt’s bounty won’t help, but it probably can’t hurt much.
[Photo by Vince Bucci, Alex Wong/Getty Images]