Jessa Duggar Seewald and Jill Duggar Dillard’s upcoming TLC specials faced a huge backlash long before they even had a set air date. As soon as the specials were announced, critics of the Duggars began actively campaigning to get companies to pull their ads from them. However, TLC has indicated that it has no intention of dumping the Duggar daughters — the network recently released the first promo for Jill & Jessa: Counting On.
The promo first aired during Sunday night’s episode of 90 Day Fiance, and it was also shared on the new Facebook page for Jill & Jessa: Counting On. Jessa is the first sister to speak, and at first her words sound a lot like something she would say in a 19 Kids and Counting promo.
“Here I am, the most joyful time in my life,” Jessa says. “Newly married, baby on the way.”
However, things take a dark turn when Jessa mentions the Josh Duggar sexual molestation scandal without saying her older brother’s name.
“And then… we were devastated. We couldn’t believe it. You have to wonder, how did this happen?”
In the promo, Jill Duggar also speaks about how “the whole world was shocked” when In Touch Weekly shared the police reports documenting the statements of the Duggar daughters who were sexually molested by Josh when he was a teenager. Jill and Jessa were two of Josh’s victims, and talking about the ordeal makes Jill tear up in the video below. However, she doesn’t say whether she’s still “angry” and “hurting” because of what Josh did or whether she’s upset because her family’s secret past was discovered.
As you can see, the promo provides a few more details about Jessa and Jill’s upcoming specials. The first of the three specials will air in December, and it looks like they won’t focus on one sister at a time — instead, Jessa and Jill will likely share screen time in all of them. The promo shows Jill and Derick Dillard’s son, Israel, meeting his unborn cousin in one rather adorable scene.
The Jill & Jessa: Counting On Facebook page is already getting flooded with comments from Duggar family critics who don’t want the sisters back on TLC. A production source told the Associated Press that Josh Duggar won’t appear on them at all, but many critics don’t think he’s the only bad apple in the bunch.
“TLC is now complicit with the Duggars in minimizing incest and child abuse,” Patricia Muro Flynn wrote on the show’s Facebook page. “What a sick situation.”
Flynn was likely referring to Jill and Jessa Duggar’s appearance on The Kelly File. The girls agreed to do a sit-down interview with Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly back in June, seemingly in an effort to save 19 Kids and Counting from cancellation. Unfortunately for the girls, what they had to say didn’t make their family look any better — Jessa spent much of the interview minimizing Josh Duggar’s actions.
“I do want to speak up in his defense against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist, some people are saying,” she said. “I’m like, ‘That is so overboard and a lie really.'”
Jessa Duggar also tried to downplay the molestation by saying that Josh was just “a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls.”
“And he made some bad choices, but really the extent of it was mild, inappropriate touching, on fully clothed victims, most of it while girls were sleeping.”
However, as In Touch Weekly points out, Megyn Kelly never pressed Jessa to talk about what happened to Josh’s victims who were awake, and Jessa lied when she said that “none of the victims were aware of what happened until Joshua confessed.” According to the police report, Josh touched his 5-year-old sister’s breasts and genitals while she was sitting on his lap and he was reading to her. Josh also stuck his hand up one of his sister’s dresses when she was working in the laundry room.
Some critics on the Jill & Jessa: Counting On Facebook page have pledged to keep fighting to keep the specials from airing, and they’re trying to hit TLC where it hurts by getting advertisers to agree to pull their ad dollars from the show.
“So will TLC be airing the specials commercial free or have the same commercials over and over and over again?” Maureen Travers Zaccaria wrote. “Over 320 and Counting Brands have committed to not sponsoring the specials.”
There at least two Facebook pages that are encouraging Duggar family detractors to put pressure on companies to pull ads from the three upcoming TLC specials. The Contacting Sponsors #Nomoreduggars group has listed a whopping 330 companies that have pledged not to sponsor the specials. The companies include Target (one of Jessa’s favorite stores), Kool-Aid, S.O.S., Slim Jim, Trojan Condoms, Durex Condoms, Cottenelle, and Planters Nuts. The Cancel the Duggars Facebook page has posted screenshots of responses from various companies, including Hidden Valley and Fisher-Price.
What do you think about TLC’s decision to air the specials centered on Jill and Jessa Duggar? Is the network making a mistake?
[Featured Image credit: TLC]