Derick Dillard will no longer appear on the Duggar family’s reality show, Counting On, but months later, viewers are still asking what really happened, and he’s still denying the most popular conception of the chain of events. Now he says the series of tweets that viewers considered an attack on transgender teen girl Jazz Jennings weren’t addressed to the child at all, but TLC, though he doesn’t deny repeatedly calling Jazz a boy and using the pronoun “he” for her in tweets. These tweets are commonly assumed to be why Dillard was removed from the show, but Derick tells a different story.
In August 2017, Derick tweeted about Jazz Jennings’ reality show, I Am Jazz, which airs on TLC, the same network that hosts a reality show about Dillard’s in-laws, the Duggar family. Dillard said her show “follows a non-reality” and called the concept of being transgender a myth. Dillard’s tweet linked to a TLC tweet promoting the show, so that his words were accompanied by a photo of Jazz’s face.
In a second tweet, a response when called out by viewers, Derick Dillard said he had no problem with Jazz — but he referred to her as “him.”
TLC tweeted in November, telling viewers they did not support Derick Dillard’s views on transgender people, that he hadn’t been involved with the Duggar reality show in some time, and that the network didn’t intend to include him going forward.
In December, Derick began tweeting denials that he had been fired from TLC, maintaining that he had decided cutting ties with the network was best for his family.
His timeline has continued to host a string of denials of ever bullying or attacking Jazz. In November, Derick tweeted that he pities the teen, who he again referred to as ‘him,’ saying that Jennings’ parents are taking advantage of her to promote an agenda.
I pity Jazz, 4 those who take advantage of him in order 2 promote their agenda, including the parents who allow these kinds of decisions 2 be made by a child. It’s sad that ppl would use a juvenile this way. Again, nothing against him, just unfortunate what’s on tv these days.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) November 9, 2017
Jazz is being taken advantage of, as part of a larger agenda. I️ really have nothing against the kid and wish him all the best in life. I just hate seeing him used this way.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) November 9, 2017
However, when a Twitter user called Derick out earlier this month for saying that Jazz’s parents exploited her, Dillard deflected, not directly denying but hinting that the person was making things up or misunderstanding.
Oh if you only knew about what you were talking about...— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) February 2, 2018
In January, Derick responded to another series of tweets, wondering why “you people” wouldn’t let the story drop, and insisting, multiple times, that it never happened.
Why are you people so obsessed with something that never happened?!— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) January 5, 2018
Why are you people so obsessed?! Never happened!— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) January 5, 2018
None of anything I said was directed at Jazz.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) January 5, 2018
Now Derick is getting specific — he’s no longer making a blanket denial and leaving readers to interpret it, but asserting that the tweets were aimed at TLC, not at Jazz.
Was directed at the network; not the child. I was speaking against child abuse, not against the child. Don’t believe everything you read; liberals will distort anything for their own agenda. I’m for kids, not against them. Don’t believe the lies.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) February 10, 2018
Dillard says that liberals were distorting his tweets for their agenda, and implores his following not to believe it. Derick does not ever directly deny misgendering Jennings, or linking her life to what he calls ‘non-reality,’ though.
What an oxymoron... a "reality" show which follows a non-reality. "Transgender" is a myth. Gender is not fluid; it's ordained by God. https://t.co/YxzH5o5Ujx— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) August 3, 2017
However, a bit of perspective in how Derick sees his tweets might be found in another that came two days later. This might hint that Dillard is not aware the tweets seem, to the viewers, as though they’re directed at a person, rather than some evil force.
People are not my enemy; I fight against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) August 4, 2017
As for Jazz, she’s not letting Derick Dillard’s opinions, tweets, or battles against cosmic forces have an effect on her life. Back when the Duggar husband first began tweeting about her, she tweeted, “In the face of constant ignorance and hatred I prefer to disregard negative opinions and continue moving forward with love.”