the duggar family scandals
Source: Instagram

The Duggar Family Scandals Nearly Canceled Their Popular TLC Series


Aug. 20 2020, Updated 1:53 p.m. ET

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar and their brood of 19 children have been a TLC fixture for well over a decade at this point. However, a series of scandals back in 2015 nearly got them kicked off the network for good — and it was all thanks to their oldest son, Josh Duggar.

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Let's take a closer look at what Josh did to seriously damage his family's image, along with other scandals that have plagued the Duggars through the years. Because as it turns out, Josh isn't the only member of the family to get caught up in some intense drama.

duggar family scandal
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The Duggar family's biggest scandal was Josh Duggar inappropriately touching his sisters as a young teen.

In May 2015, old police documents surfaced that completely rocked the Duggar family's world. When Josh was 14 and 15 (in 2002 and 2003), he groped four of his sisters and one non-related underage girl while they slept. Josh confessed his wrongdoing to his parents — but he also engaged in the behavior more than once even after the confession.

Jim Bob and Michelle sent Josh to a Christian-based counseling program located in Little Rock, Ark., in addition to going to the police. As a result, their son was investigated for a number of sexual offenses, including forcible fondling of breasts and genitals. 

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“Looking back, we did the best we could under the circumstances,” Jim Bob told Megyn Kelly in June 2015. “He was still a kid. He was still a juvenile. He wasn’t an adult. This was not rape or anything like that. This was touching someone over their clothes.”

After all of this came to light, TLC pulled the Duggars' popular series 19 Kids and Counting and a slew of advertisers withdrew their ads from the program. Ultimately, the show was canceled.

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News of Josh's past scandal prompted him to resign from his position as a lobbyist with the Family Research Council. It also resulted in the 19 Kids and Counting star releasing a statement.

"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends," Josh said in the statement posted on the Duggar family's Facebook page.

"We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling," he continued. "I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."

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Two of Josh's victims — sisters Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald — also spoke about what happened to them when they were 12 and 10, respectively.

"I do want to speak up in his defense against people who are calling him a child molester or pedophile or a rapist, some people are saying," Jessa told Megyn Kelly. "I'm like, 'That is so overboard and a lie really.' I mean, people get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims."

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Both she and Jill explained that they felt re-victimized by the police reports being leaked and the story appearing in tabloids years after the inappropriate touching happened.

"I was in tears. I couldn't believe what was going on," Jill said, when the news broke. "How do they have a right to do this? We're victims; they can't do this to us."

Josh Duggar's Ashley Madison scandal came to light in August 2015.

Let's just say 2015 was a horrible year for the Duggar family. Only a few months after Josh's past inappropriate touching made news headlines, it was revealed that Michelle and Jim Bob's eldest child was a paying member of Ashley Madison, a social network/dating service that facilitates extramarital affairs.

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josh duggar scandal
Source: Instagram

Josh had spent nearly $1,000 on two separate accounts between February 2013 and May 2015 on the site — including an "affair guarantee" fee of $250. Which is decidedly un-Duggar-like, considering Josh was (and still is) married to Anna.

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Once again, Josh released a statement owning up to his actions. “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever," he wrote at the time, according to The New Yorker. "While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife."

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Although Counting On has since replaced the canceled 19 Kids and Counting, it's not surprising that Josh has been banned from the spinoff entirely — considering he almost single-handedly ruined the Duggar family's reality TV career.

Derick Dillard's transphobic remarks got him kicked off 'Counting On', too.

In the big scheme of things, Jill's husband's transphobia is a blip on the scandal radar compared to Josh's missteps — but it still ended with Derick and Jill getting the boot from TLC.

Derick went on a Twitter rant in August 2017 about Jazz Jennings' TLC series I Am Jazz being "an oxymoron" for being a "reality show which follows a non-reality." Another gem from Derick's rant included: "‘Transgender’ is a myth. Gender is not fluid; it’s ordained by God.”

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jill duggar derick dillard scandal
Source: Instagram

In November 2017, Derick tweeted that he felt sorry for Jazz, while repeatedly misgendering her. “I pity Jazz 4 those who take advantage of him in order 2 promote their agenda, including the parents who allow these kinds of decisions 2 be made by a child," he wrote. "It’s sad that ppl would use a juvenile this way.”

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Source: Twitter

That's when TLC dropped a bombshell about Derick's participation on Counting On.

“We want to let our viewers know that Derick Dillard has not participated in Counting On for months and the network has no plans to feature him in the future," the official TLC Twitter account wrote in a statement. "We want to reiterate that Derick’s personal statements do not reflect the views of the network. TLC is proud to share the story of Jazz Jennings and her family and will continue to do so.”

Since then, there hasn't been any new Duggar family scandals to speak of. And hopefully — for both their sake and for dedicated fans who hope to continue watching them on Counting On — the Duggars will remain scandal-free from here on out.

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