Jerry Falwell Jr. says blackmail led to recent controversial behavior

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Suspended Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. says blackmail led to his recent erratic behavior.

He was suspended almost two weeks ago after he posted a controversial photo on Instagram.

Calls for Falwell to step down

Falwell gave a statement to conservative magazine The Washington Examiner, saying he has suffered depression caused by a former family friend who had an affair with his wife and has been threatening to expose it.

In the statement, he says the man “began threatening to publicly reveal this secret relationship with Becki and to deliberately embarrass my wife, family, and liberty university unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies ... Over the course of the last few months, this person’s behavior has reached a level that we have decided the only way to stop this predatory behavior is to go public.”

Falwell says he’s getting mental health help, along with his wife