Josh and Anna Duggar celebrated their ninth anniversary on Tuesday, but fans of Counting On, the show that focuses on the Duggar family obliquely and on Josh’s sisters, Jill and Jessa, and their families specifically, weren’t exactly parading out the well-wishes.
For reasons that are readily obvious to anyone who has read anything about the Duggars over the past few years, Josh, the oldest of the first generation of Duggar kids, has been something of a pariah in the family. As the Hollywood Gossip writer Tyler Johnson notes, ever since his molestation scandal, the rest of the Duggar family, and family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar, have been trying — and failing — to manage Josh’s and the family’s image. Those efforts have ranged from, as Johnson puts it, trying to sweep his shenanigans under the rung, to only presenting Josh in a positive light on the family’s social media presence.
It was just such an attempt to paint Josh in a positive light that appears to have failed. On Tuesday, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar posted a “throwback photo” of Josh and Anna in order to mark the couple’s anniversary. What the elder Duggars had apparently hoped would be a gesture that generated goodwill towards Josh and Anna turned out to be another opportunity for Counting On fans to let the family have it.
— News update (@news247online) September 21, 2017
One fan noted that he or she loved Counting On and wishes the franchise wasn’t sullied by Josh’s presence. What’s more, he or she repeated the claim that, as some speculate, Anna is trapped against her will in an unhappy marriage to Josh.
“I live [sic] the Duggar family’s and the shows but it disgusts me to even hear anything about Josh.. to me Anna is staying against her will.. she’s staying because of his and her family’s..so sad.”
Other fans were even more direct.
“Dudes, again, your son has major issues. Parading him and his family in the public eye just makes people feel terrible. It’s too soon.”
Others tried to be sympathetic, and suggested that maybe keeping Josh and Anna away from the family’s social media presence indefinitely may be the way to go.
“For the sake of his recovery, his wife and the rest of your family it might be best to keep your love and support private for now. I’m sure they don’t need the inevitable negativity. Their family has suffered enough from being in the public eye.”
Claiming that the Duggars “never learn anything,” Johnson notes that the elder Duggars have tried repeatedly to use Josh and Anna’s milestones as an attempt to re-brand Josh in the public eye, and every attempt has failed. The most recent attempt, prior to Tuesday, was earlier this month, when the couple welcomed their fifth child. The Duggar patriarch and matriarch expressed their well-wishes on social media; not unexpectedly, fans responded with so much disgust that the photos of Josh and Anna were removed.
What do you believe Josh and Anna Duggar, or Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, can do to re-brand Josh’s image in the public eye? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Danny Johnston, File/AP]