In a new lawsuit, the Duggar family complains about online discussions concerning the 2015 sexual molestation scandal that led to Josh Duggar’s downfall. Before the suit was filed, chatter about what Josh did to his younger sisters had started to die down. However, now the Duggars are trying to make his misdeeds a hot topic of conversation once again: They allegedly want to talk about the fallout from Josh’s actions in front of a prime-time TV audience.
The Duggar family reportedly has three major TV networks competing over an exclusive interview centered on their lawsuit. Four of the former 19 Kids and Counting stars are suing a lengthy list of defendants—including the city of Springdale, Arkansas and In Touch Weekly—over the release of detailed police records that describe the sexual molestation that went on in the family’s home over a decade ago. In 2015, In Touch published redacted versions of the reports, which identify four Duggar girls as victims of their older brother, Josh.
The Duggars may not have to win their lawsuit to profit from it. Page Six wrote that NBC, CNN, and Fox News are “bidding for the interview” with Josh’s four victims, who are also the plaintiffs in the lawsuit: Jill Duggar Dillard, Jessa Duggar Seewald, Jinger Duggar Vuolo, and Joy-Anna Duggar. The use of the word “bidding” suggests that the Duggar family might get paid big bucks for simply talking about their decision to go to court.
“Pay-to-play” interviews are a controversial practice in the media industry, but the Washington Post reported that they do happen: NBC has reportedly paid over $100,000 for exclusive interviews with high-profile headline makers. ABC has banned the practice of paying newsworthy subjects to appear on its news programs, so it could be telling that it’s one of the only major networks that isn’t listed among those the Duggar family is reportedly in talks with. However, a source close to the Duggars claims that they aren’t looking for a payout.
“This isn’t about money. It is about making a statement that we must protect children who are victims of sexual abuse. They are hoping for a settlement in the range of $10 million to $15 million.”
We hope our lawsuit will send a clear message that releasing the names of juveniles is never ok.https://t.co/b6gGUuAu5B
— Jill (Duggar)Dillard (@jillmdillard) May 19, 2017
In their Complaint and Jury Demand, the Duggars denounce the release of police reports that they describe as being “under-redacted.” They note that some social media users were able to identify who Josh’s minor victims were based on the information in the documents, even though the victims’ names were blacked out. Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna also claim that the release of the records caused them to “relive painful memories.”
“For example, a user on the online forum ‘freejinger.org’ commented that from the length of the redacted names and the details of the interviews, each victim’s identity could be determined,” the lawsuit reads. “Many on social media expressed concern for the victims, including Plaintiffs, noting that Plaintiffs had been re-victimized by having the details of their sexual assault reverberating through the media as a result of Defendants’ actions.”
The Duggar family’s new lawsuit has become a hot topic on the forum mentioned in the Complaint, and many Free Jinger users are expressing their sympathy for the Counting On stars. However, others are questioning the Duggars’ motives for filing a lawsuit two years after the police reports were released.
“This lawsuit is kind of infuriating. They are accusing InTouch of re-victimizing the girls to make money,” wrote one commenter. “Ummmm….isn’t that EXACTLY what JB&M [Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar] are doing now?”
Four sisters of Josh Duggar who told police that they’d been molested by him filed a federal breach-of-privacy suit https://t.co/jBX1wkhLr9
— Page Six (@PageSix) May 19, 2017
Some critics are accusing the family of using the lawsuit to garner publicity ahead of the premiere of the upcoming season of Counting On, and others believe that Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna are misplacing the blame for what they’ve gone through.
“If anything, the girls should sue the parents. They did not protect them. They did not do anything until Josh sexually attacked a 5 year old,” one Free Jinger member commented.
Another critic referenced Jessa and Jill’s 2015 interview with former Fox News host Megyn Kelly. During that sit-down, Jessa downplayed Josh’s predatory behavior by describing it as “mild inappropriate touching.” However, in the lawsuit, Josh’s actions are labeled “sexual assault.”
“It can be sexual assault when someone may give them money for it, but on national TV it’s ‘mild, inappropriate touching.'”
What do you think of the Duggar family’s lawsuit and the speculation that it’s all about money and publicity? Share your thoughts below.
[Featured Image by Duggar Family/Facebook]