After disturbing evidence of incestuous sexual assault inside the Duggar home, TLC immediately pulled the show from the air. America was soon even more divided on their opinions of the Duggars than they were before. Fox (obviously) nabbed the first interview with parents Jim Bob and Michelle.
While we’re sympathetic to the situation they’re in, many viewers had a hard time swallowing some of their protective language and the reasoning behind how they handled the issues. These were people’s biggest issues.
1. “Over the clothes”
“There was another incident… two different incidents where girls were laying on the couch and he had touched over the couch and he had touched their breasts while they were asleep,” Jim Bob explained, quickly adding at Michelle’s nudging, “Over the clothes.”
Oh. OK. Well, as long as it was over the clothes, that makes it all OK? While we truly believe that isn’t what they were suggesting, we do think they were trying to lessen the issue by saying that.
2. They talked to other families
“A lot of families since said that they’ve had similar things happen in their families,” Jim Bob assured the nation.
Sexual assault is a serious issue and should be taken seriously. This comment brought up two issues. First, it seemed as though Jim Bob was suggesting it happens all the time and, thus, shouldn’t be treated with so much uproar. Second, while it’s definitely an issue, obviously, Jim Bob’s insistence that it’s happened a lot made many fans concerned this might be a much bigger issue within their church community. Why is this happening so often with the people in the Duggars’ lives?
3. “He was a juvenile. Not an adult”
Jim Bob seemed to think this was important. But he was a teenager. He was old enough to know right from wrong.
4. “There was a couple more times he came and told us what he’d done. We were just devastated”
Yeah, y’all. Take note: The real victims here are Jim Bob and Michelle.
5. “We’ve done everything we can as parents”
No. You didn’t. Talking to your friends is not everything you can do. Sending your kid to work construction for a few months is not everything you can do.
6. “As parents, we’re not mandatory reporters”
No, Jim Bob. But you are mandatory protectors of your other children.
7. “The success rate is not very good”
According to Jim Bob, pedophile rehabilitation facilities aren’t great and don’t really help a lot of people. Working construction with a stranger was somehow more helpful.
8. “It was more his heart”
Michelle really, truly believes Josh was the victim in this. “He knew it was wrong… they didn’t even realize it was improper touch.” Shouldn’t you have already taught them that? And, also: Nope. Still not OK. And, no, Josh isn’t the victim of anything except poor parenting.
9. “We were trying to protect and watch and make sure that their hearts were safe”
What about their bodies? What about their innocence? What about their ability to feel physically safe within their own home?
10. “A lot of [other families’] stories were even worse”
Jim Bob stayed true to his son from start to finish. While what Josh did was wrong, he found ways to lessen his crimes. This included telling the world that when they talked to other families, Josh’s molestation of his four sisters and a babysitter seemed inconsequential compared to what other families have supposedly been through.
11. “If he didn’t do this, it would be hanging over his head for the rest of his life”
“We felt like it was an important step for Josh to confess to the police because he had broken the law,” Jim Bob explained. That’s a valid point. But fans all agreed it seemed shady that he didn’t come forward until it was too late for him to be charged.
12. “He actually violated the law”
Jim Bob was also quick to turn the tables on the police officer they went to about Josh’s crimes. He shared that the officer probably said the Duggars only told him about one molestation in order to make himself not look so bad since he didn’t report the assaults either. Seemed shady on all accounts.
More: Fox ended the Michelle, Jim Bob Duggar interview in the worst way possible
13. “Josh had changed”
Once again, Jim Bob took the reins when asked if they worried for their daughters once Josh returned home. They were adamant that while safeguards stayed in place, they no longer worried about their daughters.
14. “God can forgive them”
Leave it to the Duggars to push their Christian agenda on the nation. Josh Duggar molested five girls, but they’re using it as a way to preach God’s forgiveness. Was it really the best time and the best reflection on Christians?
The one light at the end of the interview tunnel…
The Duggars did share that the victims and Josh all went to a professional therapist to seek treatment after the incidents. Was it enough? Only time will tell.
More: New Duggars police report proves Jim Bob and Michelle should be in jail