They say you should not speak ill of the dead. But they, whoever they are, never met Bruce David. When the longtime Editorial Director of HUSTLER passed away in June 2016, messages flooded in from his former employees and coworkers, ranging from the obligatory “That’s sad” to “That’s good news!” to “He was an asshole, but he was our asshole.” How do you memorialize a man who agitated, aggravated and pissed off most people he met? Who taunted, teased and occasionally tortured his staff? You tell the truth. Your truth. As Bruce David did in the pages of HUSTLER every day during his time here. You don’t sugarcoat it. You mention the conspiracy theories, the paranoia and the weirdness.
You have to be honest, direct and graphic. Because that’s what Bruce did in every article, cartoon and column he placed in HUSTLER. Truth is, Bruce David never truly cared about anyone’s opinion of him. Except maybe Larry Flynt’s. Bruce didn’t care. It was one of the qualities that made him a singular force. He really only cared about a few things: his sons, his web site www.swapsale.com and making HUSTLER Magazine the greatest publication on the newsstand.
Bruce started at HUSTLER in the mid-1970s, after a stint working for Al Goldstein on his revolutionary cable show Midnight Blue and landmark smut mag Screw. Bruce loved to brag about how Larry “stole” him away from Goldstein. We asked Mr. Flynt to give us the true story. “Bruce was working for Screw magazine and wrote a review of the very first issue of HUSTLER back in 1974. He said, ‘The new men’s upstart, HUSTLER, has just nudged out Refrigerator Monthly as the most boring publication in America.’ So I called him up. I told him, ‘I love your review. And I agree with you, by the way. Why don’t you come to Columbus and help us out.’”