Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard won’t lose their TLC gig over a tweet attacking another star on the network, transgender teen Jazz Jennings. However, TLC is letting viewers know that it doesn’t endorse Derick’s personal beliefs about the LGBTQ community.
As Us Weekly reports, 28-year-old Counting On star Derick Dillard, husband of Jill Duggar, caused a social media firestorm on August 2 when he attacked 16-year-old Jazz Jennings on Twitter. Like Derick, Jazz also stars on a TLC show. However, unlike the fundamentalist Christian, she uses her reality show, I Am Jazz, as a platform to promote inclusiveness and acceptance of a marginalized minority: members of the LGBTQ community. The teen activist has even appeared in one of TLC’s anti-bullying PSAs.
Because TLC has made a show of supporting Jennings’ activism, the network was placed in an awkward position when Derick Dillard attacked the transgender star for being brave enough to share her story with the world.
“What an oxymoron… a ‘reality’ show which follows a non-reality. ‘Transgender’ is a myth. Gender is not fluid; it’s ordained by God,” he tweeted.
Derick Dillard’s tweet included a link to a TLC promo featuring Jazz, so the network was forced to respond to his comments. As TMZ reports, TLC said that his personal views don’t reflect those of the network. However, TLC will continue to do business with Derick and his wife; he and Jill Duggar will reportedly appear in the upcoming season of Counting On.
The day after Derick Dillard attacked Jazz on Twitter, TLC showed its support for the Dillards by sharing a post on the Counting On Facebook page about how “adorable” their baby boy is. Some fans accused the network of using photos of the newborn to deflect from the backlash to Derick’s comments.
“TLC way to go to promoting your anti bullying campaign. Do you really think people are stupid enough to be fooled by baby pictures? Do you really think that this is going away any time soon?” wrote one commenter.
Many Duggar critics don’t think that TLC’s short statement about Derick’s words was enough. In response to the network’s tweet, some angry viewers are calling for TLC to kick him off Counting On or to cancel the show entirely. They even created a special hashtag for their cause: #DropTheDuggars.
While TLC has been reluctant to get rid of its most controversial family, it has banned one member of the Duggar clan from appearing on its shows. After Josh Duggar confessed to sexually molesting his younger sisters and cheating on his wife, the network was so desperate to keep his face off of TV that it used a lens flare special effect to hide him from view during Jinger Duggar’s wedding special.
Jazz Jennings recently let her Twitter followers know that she isn’t letting Dillard’s transphobic comments get her down, and she made it clear that she’s not going to change who she is just because someone she shares a TV network with doesn’t understand her.
Jazz has been retweeting messages from her supportive fans, including a few slamming Derick Dillard for using the incorrect pronouns to identify her. Even though Derick singled Jazz out and dubbed her life “a non-reality,” he claims that he has nothing against her.
“I want to be clear. I have nothing against him. I only have issue with the words and definitions being propagated here,” he tweeted.
Jazz also retweeted a supportive message from GLAAD. I Am Jazz won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program in 2016.
Like many of Jazz’s followers, the organization accused Dillard of cyber-bullying.
Jazz has also received messages of support from the Human Rights Campaign and actress Patricia Arquette. She won’t let haters like Derick Dillard stop her from sharing her story because she knows that she’s an inspiration to other transgender teens.
“A lot of times I get messages from kids who are struggling,” Jennings told E! News in 2015. “Sometimes they say they walk in front of a street full of cars or they are about to jump out of a window and they say the reason they didn’t do it was because of Jazz and that’s why I keep sharing my story because I know I am making a difference and creating change and helping those kids.”
[Featured Images by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for AHA, Derick Dillard/Instagram]