Joy-Anna Duggar’s husband, Austin Forsyth, spent some of his first days as a father fighting back against his haters. The Counting On star recently responded to speculation that he, his wife, and her family are desperate to keep their TLC series on the air because they’ve grown accustomed to a lifestyle that they would not be able to afford without it.
Late last month, Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth took to Instagram to share a slideshow of snapshots of their baby boy Gideon, and the Counting On couple has not posted any photos or updates on their son since. However, Austin has been reading responses to the February 26 baby announcement. There have been over 4,700 responses to Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth’s Instagram post so far, but Austin has only replied to a handful of them. One comment that he felt warranted a response was a complaint that he and his family are too dependent on the cash that they make from Counting On.
“Without the show, you all would quickly go broke with all of the trips and parties and babies you all have,” the comment read. “No one of you all has a real job that pays enough to keep up that lifestyle, so you all depend on the show for money. I think that is very sad, and I think it is a very selfish way to live your life.”
In his response, Forsyth claimed that money had nothing to do with his decision to join Joy-Anna on her family’s TLC series. Much like his in-laws, he views the show as a platform to push his religious agenda.
“It’s amazing to me how people make emphatic statements about stuff to which they have no clue about. Its crazy how much you know about me yet have never met me,” the Duggar husband wrote.
“The show is to promote Jesus Christ and his goodness. I hope and pray you have a relationship with him.”
During a 2011 appearance at Liberty University, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar explained their reasoning behind inviting a camera crew into their lives.
“When asked to have a reality show, we said we would be willing to do that as long as you don’t leave out our faith because our faith is the core of our lives,” Michelle Duggar said, according to the Liberty Champion. “This is a family ministry, and we are sharing with the world that children are a gift from God.”
The Duggars rarely mentioned their religious views on their former TLC series 19 Kids and Counting, nor do they say much about them on Counting On. However, Jim Bob Duggar’s thinking was that people would see his family on television and be inspired to read more about them on the internet. There they would learn about the Duggars’ anti-abortion stance and their other conservative Christian beliefs.
“If people hear that children are a gift from God, maybe they’ll decide not to have an abortion,” Jim Bob said.
In their book A Love That Multiplies, Jim Bob and Michelle explain how they also used their reality show to promote their family’s belief that couples should not have sex before marriage.
“Josh and Anna welcomed the crew to film their engagement and wedding in 2008 because they wanted to encourage other young people to wait for the one God has for them,” the couple writes.
The Duggars remain tight-lipped about how much money their “family ministry” has made them over the years, but the Celebrity Net Worth website estimates that Jim Bob Duggar has a net worth of $3.5 million. According to E! News, the Duggars were likely making somewhere between $25,000 to $40,000 per episode of 19 Kids and Counting.
The Duggars have never shared any details about how their reality show money is divvied up among the family. Now that 19 Kids and Counting has been rebooted as Counting On, Jim Bob and Michelle are no longer the stars of the show. The current series focuses on the lives of their adult children, including Joy-Anna.
Two of the Duggar daughters even had their names in the title for a short period of time when it was billed as Jill & Jessa: Counting On. However, Jill was forced to quit the show when her husband, Derick Dillard, decided to cut ties with TLC. According to PopCulture, Derick raised further questions about where the money from the show goes by tweeting that he and his wife worked on the show as unpaid volunteers.