Please see update at the end of this page.
Josh Duggar has officially confessed to having online accounts devoted to finding a stranger with whom to cheat on his wife (during the years when he was standing on stages and preaching that consensual relationships between gay and lesbian adults would destroy the institution of marriage), but a few odd factors about the message raise a question: Did Josh write it himself, or did someone else present it on his behalf, either with or without his permission and approval?
The oddest thing about Josh Duggar’s public apology is its location: on Michelle Duggar’s official blog. How many of us, when we need to apologize for something, do it through our mother? If adults are responding, or even children old enough to take even the minimum of personal responsibility, the answer should be “not many.”
Josh has quite an adequate public podium of his own: his Twitter account has over 122k followers, and his Instagram has over 562k. If he had a statement that he personally wanted to make to all the fans and following, either of those seems like a logical place to speak in his own voice.
Even when making a statement on the earlier revelation about his crimes as a teen, Josh’s official statement was posted on a Facebook account representing the whole family. Furthermore, in that case, Josh at least personally linked to it on his own Twitter account, which you might call, in a sense, “owning” the message.
Full statement here: https://t.co/C28xCVCvYA
— Josh Duggar (@joshduggar) May 21, 2015
Not this time, though. The message of apology and plea for forgiveness isn’t posted on any of Josh’s social media, or the official family account (where it would reach over 775k viewers), but on his mother’s blog, which almost certainly sees less activity.
Of course, there isn’t a chance that the Duggar family could have believed fewer people would see it for this — Josh’s actions have made hefty headlines, in light of his hellfire and brimstone preaching about the dangers of sexual deviation. There wasn’t a chance that every interested party in America, and a number who’d rather not hear, would be exposed to the fact that Josh had confessed.
So, what conclusion does that leave, for reasons that the apology and statement would be posted on Michelle’s blog, rather than on a more-trafficked page, particularly one belonging to Josh himself? (His own website, for instance, might have been a bit more relevant of a location than his mother’s, if it was a matter of avoiding social media posting. Yet the message is not there, and the only message pertaining to the matter is a link to the original statement about the earlier revelations of Josh’s activities.)
It’s possible that Josh (who may have declared on at least one dating site that he’s bad at apologies) asked a family member or legal representative to draft and post an apology in his name. It’s possible he dictated the apology himself, or wrote it out by hand, and is avoiding computers entirely — not an unrealistic possibility, from a man who has confessed a pornography “addiction.”
It’s also possible that Josh had little to do with the apology, and that it was produced as damage control for the family who is, reportedly, still trying to cajole TLC into giving them another reality show.
As of Thursday afternoon, Josh has made no statement on any of his own social media accounts, or his own website, even to link to the official statement, and the family has not shared the statement outside of Michelle’s blog. The family’s Instagram accounts have all been silent since the Ashley Madison list was revealed, as has the official Facebook account, and Twitter accounts belonging to Jill, Jessa, Josh, and their spouses.
Perhaps the family is all taking a break from their more public social media accounts, where numerous commenters are posting about hypocrisy and cover-ups, and being somewhat less than charitable — whether or not you believe the Duggar family deserves the vitriol, anyone could understand them not wanting to read it. It wouldn’t be too surprising if all the Duggars decided to avoid the comment sections — and perhaps the internet altogether — for a few days.
There’s another factor at play, too. The writing style differs from Josh’s social media posts in a few key ways. The apology on the Duggar family site is composed with complete sentences and proper punctuation. Most of Josh’s posts use sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and a lot of ellipses.
“Happy Birthday to my beautiful wife @Anna_Duggar…we’re also celebrating our 7 year engagement anniversary today!”
“Meredith Grace is 1 month old today, we are so grateful for our 4th little blessing!”
This isn’t a jab at his writing style, grammatical skills, or education. It’s only relevant because these don’t appear in the official statement. This too, could be as simple as a more casual writing style on social media compared to a serious, carefully composed statement — or it could be a sign that someone else penned the statement for him.
Even if Josh Duggar didn’t pen the statement himself, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t express and espouse the sentiment, and perhaps he does. Perhaps he wrote every word himself, from his heart, and asked his mother to post it on her blog because he was uncomfortable accessing a computer. However, it’s impossible not to question what his motivation is, when throughout this series of events, it has been his parents and sisters who have spoken, addressed television cameras, posted on social media, and otherwise addressed the public. On the subject of his own behavior, Josh Duggar has consistently stayed off the stage and away from the public — and it appears he plans to continue in the same vein.
[Update: at approximately 4:30pm Eastern time, about 30 minutes after the initial publication of this article, the Duggar Family Official Facebook page shared a link to Josh Duggar’s official statement on his mother’s blog.]
[Image via: Family Research Council]