Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said on Wednesday that he had apologized for posting a photo of him with his arm around a woman who is not his wife, both with unzipped pants, although he defended the incident as part of a "costume party."
The now-deleted photo shows Falwell standing beside a woman, who is wearing a cropped shirt and unbuttoned shorts, with his arm around her. Falwell also has unbuttoned shorts, and his underwear is showing. The photo appears to be on board a yacht.
The picture quickly drew backlash because Liberty University prohibits students from having sexual relations outside of marriage and consuming media with lewd lyrics, sexual content, and nudity. The university also requires students to dress modestly.
"I've apologized to everybody," Falwell said in an interview on a local radio station in Lynchburg, Virginia, the home of the university. "And I've promised my kids I'm going to try to be — I'm gonna try to be a good boy from here on out."
Falwell said that the woman in the photo is his wife's assistant. He also tagged the photo of the woman as Kathleen Stone, who said on her profile that she works for Liberty University.
"She's a sweetheart and I should never have put it up and embarrassed her," Falwell said.
Falwell said that she had her pants unzipped because she is pregnant.
"She's pregnant so she couldn't get her — she couldn't get her pants up," Falwell said. "And I was like, trying to like — my — I had on pair of jeans that I hadn't worn in a long time so I couldn't get mine zipped either. And so — and so — I just put my belly — I just put my belly out like hers."
Falwell said that the photo was taken at a costume party.
"It was a costume party on a — we were on vacation," Falwell said. "And, anyway, long story short it was just in good fun. That's it."