The Duggar family rose to fame in 2004 when the Discovery network presented a documentary in the United States entitled ’14 Children and Pregnant Again! ‘ (14 children and pregnant again), in which Jim Bob Duggar and his wife Michelle showed their family life with their very prolific family that, as the title of the program says, then consisted of 14 children and one on the way.
In that program, the Duggars argued that their Arkansas family lived according to strict religious and moral values, and therefore they let God decide the number of children they would have. The family, of a fundamentalist Christian religion, showed in this program their fervor and their modesty and the daily vicissitudes of organizing such a large family – including educating their children at home – were also part of the attraction of the program.
That led to stardom and as they continued to have more children, the Duggar family became the star of their own reality show, called ’17 kids and Counting ‘and then ’18 kids and Counting’ and ’19 kids and Counting ‘, clearly expressing progressive growth.
That Duggar show lasted 10 seasons on the TLC channel and the family reached, precisely, the sum of father, mother and 19 children. The father and his 19 children all have names that begin with the letter J, and only the mother, Michelle, is the exception in that sense.
Over the years, several grandchildren have also joined that clan.
But the Duggars hid horrible secrets for years.
The revelation and implications of that ominous dark side of the family has also shown that the Duggars’ statements during their show that they wanted to be an example for other families and that they based their lives on moral and spiritual values would not have been, according to its critics, but a kind of hypocrisy.
Because, as discussed in BuzzFeed News, the Duggars were aware of the dire quirks of their family secrets, even before the first TV show aired, at the time they did nothing and let fame and money flow to them while widely promoting their family image. pious and very numerous. If they acted on those grave secrets, it is claimed, that was when the matter began to explode in their hands.
It all has to do with the Duggar’s oldest son, Joshua, simply called Josh.
Wolf in sheepskin
When the first documentary aired in 2004, Josh Duggar, the oldest of the brothers, was 16 years old. Today, at age 33, he was found guilty of two counts of child pornography, for which he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in jail for each, 40 in total, in addition to up to $ 250,000 in fines, according to The New York Times.
But Josh’s alleged sexually predatory behaviors would have started many years ago, even before the family rose to media prominence in 2004, and remained largely hidden as the family grew in fame, wealth, and aura of spiritual and moral purity.
In 2003, when he was 15 years old, Josh admitted touching four underage women on the breasts, vaginal area and under their clothes, BuzzFeed indicates. He said that to Bobye Holt, a family friend and wife of a former state legislator, when the Duggars asked him for his advice at the time. Josh would have been doing that since he was 12 years old, and he confessed to Holt that in one case he penetrated the vagina of a 5-year-old girl with his finger.
Duggar was not legally prosecuted for these events, but in his recent trial on child pornography charges, Holt herself testified in court and revealed what he told her years ago.
Holt also said that Josh’s parents knew about their son’s misconduct even before they began to appear on television in 2004, but did nothing to make the sexual abuse of girls legally punished.
The fame the family achieved after the airing of their first television documentary was considerable and new shows followed, with even an episode in which Josh’s qualities were extolled. The Duggars were scheduled to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show by December 2006, but an anonymous source sent the show’s production and Arkansas authorities information about Josh’s sexual abuse years earlier.
The Duggars’ appearance with Oprah was canceled and authorities began investigating the family. During police interviews with the Duggars, the parents acknowledged that Josh committed these actions, which occurred between 2002 and 2003, and although that was then set the legal deadline for reporting cases of sexual abuse against minors that then existed in Arkansas It was 3 years old, so the possible crimes Josh would have committed had already prescribed.
There was, therefore, no legal action against him at that time, but the family kept the matter secret., or at least he did not publicly refer to it while, in parallel, his television fame grew with the broadcast of his reality shows, which lasted one on screen from 2008 to 2015 and another from 2015 to 2020.
Then, in 2015, an article in In Touch Weekly magazine, which obtained information from police reports, claimed that Josh had abused four of his own younger sisters and one more girl. Those revelations had their own controversy, as there were voices that criticized the release of legal files in which the identities of minors were implicated.
In the face of the disturbing scandal and to try to defuse it, Jim Bob and Michelle attended a Fox News program accompanied by two of Josh’s sisters, Jessa and Jill, BuzzFeed noted. They acknowledged having suffered sexual abuse from their brother but also said they had forgiven him.
The pornography scandals
The revelations of In Touch Weekly magazine caused the program ’19 kids and Counting ‘to be canceled’ in 2015, although months later a new one, focused on the lives of several of the Duggar brothers (entitled ‘Counting On’) began to air. and remained on the TLC channel until 2020, without the participation of Josh.
He had new problems.
In August 2015, it was revealed that Josh Duggar had spent close to $ 1,000 on subscriptions to view porn on the Ashley Madison dating site. That became known after Ashley Madison’s data was stolen and massively published by hackers. Subscriptions began in 2012 and were canceled in May 2015. Josh Duggar and his parents then acknowledged that he had consumed pornographic material and that he had been unfaithful to his wife.
In a statement, as reported at the time by the chain CNNJosh admitted that “I’ve been the biggest hypocrite ever. While advocating faith and family values, I was secretly for several of the last years watching pornography on the Internet… That became a secret addiction and I was unfaithful to my wife… ”.
And there are those who could say that his parents and other family members would have incurred that hypocrisy as well, hiding Josh’s previous abuses while projecting an image of devout Christians, followers of strict morality.
Josh was then admitted to a rehabilitation center.
That was not all. In November 2015 Josh was sued by the porn actress Danica Dillon, who demanded compensation of $ 500.00. She alleged that during a consensual sexual encounter at a Philadelphia strip club he inflicted physical and emotional injury on her. But Dillon dropped the lawsuit in 2016, he reported at the time. People, and Josh denied that Dillon’s allegations were true.
Josh managed to get around a new case of allegations of sexual misconduct, but fate caught up with him in April 2021. Then, federal prosecutors accused him of having obtained in May 2019, with full knowledge, images of child pornography, including images of under 12 years old. Josh was arrested and pleaded not guilty to receiving and possessing child pornography material.
Following his arrest, the ‘Counting On’ show was canceled.
The indictment, The New York Times reported, said Josh Duggar created a password-protected area on his computer’s hard drive where he downloaded and stored child pornography multiple times. The verdict of the trial on December 9 was guilty and now he awaits the sentence, which could reach 40 years in prison.
Certainly, Josh’s reputation was already badly deteriorated for some time, but having been found guilty at his trial reopened his entire record and, in that sense, his fall is also a blow to the public image of his family. The cancellation of ‘Counting On’ is a sign of this and claims of hypocrisy weigh heavily on them, especially the parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, who while showing their family on their reality shows as an example of virtues and life based on Christian values at the same time concealed Josh’s predatory behaviors.
Now Jim Bob, the father, is about to compete for a seat in the Arkansas Senate (he was a state representative from 1999-2003) and it is not clear if the sentence imposed on his son Josh will weigh on his political aspirations. Memes about it have already appeared on social networks.
In any case, his website DuggarFamily.com continues to offer content on family life and Josh’s legal problems are alluded to in a brief statement, dated April 2021, which does not give details and only expresses his wish that the truth.
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The Duggars, the large family that amassed fame and fortune on TV while hiding a sexual predator