It seems the Duggar family's fame was built on a flimsy foundation, and like a row of dominoes, once the first flick sent the first lie toppling down, a chain reaction began. Now, it seems unlikely the family will ever return to TLC, as one revelation after another arises. The latest? A possible lawsuit from one of Josh's victims, and a series of FCC complaints about the show's "worldview regarding women," the family's anti-gay agenda, and an allegation against one of the show's producers.
First, of course, it was the news that Josh Duggar had, as a teenager, molested a number of young girls -- one as young as five -- and that the Duggar parents had covered his crimes up. Though the crimes occurred in 2002-2003, there was no police report or investigation until 2006, when an acquaintance of the family finally spoke out.
Since then, the Duggar family has worked to save face -- and save their show. Unfortunately, for their brand, they haven't done a great job of it. They have been caught in lies and further cover-ups. When Megyn Kelly interviewed the family, they claimed that they didn't know the police report was being released -- but the local police department reportedly notified the family upon receipt of the FOIA request, and before the response was mailed back. Furthermore, the family claims that the incidents were years behind them before they began to film their show -- but Josh and Anna's website says that filming for the first TV special began in 2003 -- three years before the police investigation, and certainly not "years after" the incidents came to an end.
"In 2003, the Duggar family was contacted by producers to film their first show with the Discovery Health Channel called, '14 Children and Pregnant Again!'"
For one, there's the recent report that Josh Duggar had previously been disciplined for looking at porn on a work computer while employed by an Arkansas politician in 2004 -- after the sexual assault incidents are said to have stopped, and after TLC had already connected with the family for their introduction to television fame. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this is that for looking at porn -- something many teenagers do at some point -- Josh was given, according to OK Magazine, a punishment so severe that Michelle Duggar was unhappy about it, and the young Duggar was blamed for the politician's failed campaign.
There are also tales circulating that the non-family victim (if there is only one non-family victim -- the original police report mentioned an incident on the couch in the Duggar family home, as well as one on the campaign trail) is suing. In Touch suggests that the victim became angry after the family spoke out in a television interview to diminish Josh's crimes and insist that the victims were all fine.
Still, that's not all. According to Radar Online, there have been numerous complaints to the FCC about the Duggar family and their show. In several responses, the FCC explains that they only handle complaints with regard to content, so an issue with the Duggar family politics, how the family handled a sex crime in its midst, or their misogynistic beliefs wouldn't be relevant to having the show pulled.
One complaint also alleges that an editor on the show has faced charges for sex crimes of his own. Sure enough, Bill Blankenship was arrested, according to NY Daily News, on child porn charges in 2011. It was noted at the time that Blankenship did editorial work on several TLC shows, including the Duggar family's 17 Kids And Counting and Jon and Kate Plus 8, but the public was assured that he was an outside contractor who handled film editing, and was never in contact with any of the "talent" on the shows.
Again, it's not up to the FCC to regulate shows based on what the actors, editors, or producers do in their off hours, so these complaints amount to little legally -- but they do show that the public is fed up with the Duggar family, and willing to try any angle to ensure the family's claim to fame is at an end.
The Duggar family has maintained their public personas for over a decade, and TLC has been complicit in helping them present an innocent front. Now, though, the Duggar family facade is beginning to crumple -- and at least America can see what is truly behind it.
[Photo Credit: Josh Duggar]