Josh Duggar lost a high-profile job, his starring role on 19 Kids and Counting, and his status as a respected leader of the fundamentalist Christian community because his mother made the fateful decision to equate transgender women to child predators.
As Refinery 29 recently pointed out, 29-year-old Josh Duggar’s future is uncertain right now. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have a “Family Scrapbook” section on their official website where each of their children share a little information about themselves, and Josh’s entry for the “Future Plans” section currently has nothing but a question mark out beside it. The married father of four still has “Executive Director, Family Research Council Action” listed as his occupation, but this is no longer true; he lost that job after it was discovered that he had sexually molested four of his sisters and another young girl as a teenager. 19 Kids and Counting was also cancelled because of the scandal. As People reports, Josh Duggar now supports his family by selling used cars.
— People Magazine (@people) May 18, 2016
If Josh Duggar’s mother had never recorded a now-infamous robocall, it’s highly likely that the former 19 Kids and Counting star would still be on TV and traveling across the country sharing his anti-LGBT views at political events. As the Duggar Family News: Life Is Not All Pickles and Hairspray Facebook page reports, a woman named Sherrl McFerrin Townsend recently revealed that she’s the one who initially contacted In Touch magazine about the sexual molestation that took place in the Duggar family’s household over a decade ago.
“Yep, that was me and I’m not at all sorry that I did it,” Townsend wrote on her own Facebook page.
Townsend decided to reach out to In Touch after learning about a transphobic robocall that Michelle Duggar recorded in 2014. As the Huffington Post reports, Josh Duggar’s mother tried to convince Fayetteville, Arkansas, residents that a city anti-discrimination ordinance aimed at protecting members of the LGBT community was a bad thing. In her robocall, Michelle Duggar compared transgender women to male child predators posing as women.
“I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”
Michelle Duggar’s robocall compares trans women to child predators http://t.co/bzb1yeyAWX
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) August 20, 2014
Sherrl McFerrin Townsend decided to reveal her involvement in Josh Duggar’s downfall after seeing a recent 20/20 episode about gay conversion therapy. Josh Duggar’s former employer spoke out in support of the controversial practice during the special, and ABC News reports that the Family Research Council is fighting state proposals that would make gay conversion therapy illegal. Townsend says that the 20/20 special made her realize that “hateful religious bigotry is still alive and well” and that the Family Research Council needs to “be brought down.”
According to the Hollywood Gossip, Townsend previously used the Duggars to show her support for the LGBT community in March 2015. A few weeks before In Touch broke the story about Josh Duggar’s dark past, Townsend shared a photo of her sister and her sister’s girlfriend kissing in front of the Duggars’ home in Arkansas.
The Washington Post reports that Townsend’s sister, Tandra Barnfield, also played a role in revealing the shocking truth about the Duggars. She was the one who informed the magazine about the existence of a police report that would provide proof of Josh Duggar’s misdeeds. In Touch then used a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the records. According to the Advocate, the journalist who broke the molestation story is a gay man.
“The rumors of Joshua Duggar being sexually inappropriate as a teenager were circulating for years, but no one could prove it until In Touch Weekly really started digging into it,” editor Rick Egusquiza said. “My bosses received a tip and then sent me and a team to Springdale, Ark., to start digging around. One tipster led me to another, and then another.”
Egusquiza also shared his thoughts about Michelle Duggar’s robocall.
“I was disgusted by Michelle’s robocall to the citizens of Fayetteville, Ark., regrading trans women and restrooms and comparing them to child molesters when she knew about her son’s actions.”
As Gawker reports, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar addressed this criticism during their interview with Megyn Kelly, an attempt at damage control after Josh’s past behavior threatened their family’s reality show career.
“I think you actually said pedophile in that, and actually a pedophile is an adult that preys on children,” Jim Bob said of his wife’s robocall. “Joshua was actually 14 and just turned 15 when he did what he did. And I think that the legal definition is 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child. So he was a child preying on a child.”
However, Jim Bob was wrong; Michelle never said the word “pedophile” in the robocall.
[Featured Image by Duggar Family/Facebook]