A photo of Josh Duggar, Grindr app pulled up on a cell phone he appears to be holding up proudly, has surfaced and is making waves on social media. If you aren’t familiar with the app, it’s basically a dating app for same-sex encounters and relationships. Whoa — even though Josh has been reappearing in family photos, it’s not exactly the image you’d expect him to freely release, especially when there are rumors of him rejoining the Jill and Jessa: Counting On cast in the new season, right?
Here’s the background: Josh Duggar is the eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, a couple who rose to fame for having 19 kids and raising them with fundamentalist conservative values that include girls wearing dresses rather than pants, replacing the teenage ritual of dating with one of “courtship,” and not allowing couples to kiss before marriage or hold hands before engagement.
Thus, it was something of a shock when, last year, news broke that Josh had molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters, and one of whom was under five years old at the time.
Further scandalous revelations followed: when names of Ashley Madison account holders were leaked, Josh’s name was on it. The conservative Christian man was, at the time, in a position for the Family Research Council, a political action organization that, among other things, lobbies for laws regulating (their view of) sexual morality, including outlawing same-sex marriage.
Now the rest of the Duggar family is back on television — despite negative feedback for covering up Josh’s crimes back when they first occurred, as well as for anti-gay and anti-transgender activism. As the second season approaches, a variety of “inside sources” are speaking to the media with conflicting stories. Hollywood Life reports that an inside source has said Josh will return to television with his family, while Entertainment Weekly reports that an inside source says he will not.
It’s a particularly contentious question, because after spending time in a sex addiction rehab program, Josh has recently been released, and has started showing up in family photos again. For a period of time, the family was keeping him far from the public eye — even when, in the Fall Feast episode of Counting On, they were shown calling absent family members, a call to Josh was conspicuously absent.
In the meantime, the family is being questioned over a photo connected to a Hollywood Gossip story.
“…Josh is holding a phone in his hand which had the open page of GRINDR, a gay hook up site. My question now is, have we all missed something about Josh? Is he now exploring his gay side of sexuality? Can we expect news about his new conversion or did he has it in him all along?”
The photo in question is of a grinning Josh Duggar holding up a cell phone — the screen of which shows a clear image of the Grindr app.
The photo is not included in the Hollywood Gossip article (here), but still shows up on some social media shares of it. It is possible that they initially used it, but removed it after publishing. Hollywood Gossip did not immediately return a request for information about their source for the image. Other shares of the article have a different image, one that is included in the story.
As for the Grindr app image that’s causing the new controversy, the first time it was linked to Josh’s series of scandals seems to be this video, from May of last year.
Talk and opinion shows such as this frequently use photoshopped or otherwise amusing images for their backgrounds, often with an editorial team ‘shopping the images specifically for broadcast. Progressive News with Tim Black has not yet responded to requests for comment about this image.
It appears, though, that in this case, the shot was scooped up from a far older source. One of the oldest copies of this image on the internet can be found in a 2013 post on LiveJournal. Since that post is about Josh joining the Family Research Council, a photoshopped image associating Josh with a gay dating app is very apt.
However, the original image from which the ‘shop was made is also not too hard to locate. It was uploaded to the Duggar Family Blog only a short time before the LiveJournal post, in celebration of Josh’s 25th birthday. As you can see, the original depicts a war memorial, rather than a dating app.
In short, though the image of Josh Duggar on Grindr is amusing and ironic to many who aren’t exactly fans of the reality show family, it’s not genuine, and has been around for a while.
[Image via TLC/YouTube]