The parents of Josh Duggar, Jim Bob and Michelle, have agreed to an interview with Fox News Channel, according to a statement the pair made Saturday on their website. They said they will address the allegations concerning Josh Duggar’s admitted sexual molestations as a teen, allegations that have rocked rocked the evangelical Christians’ reality television show, “19 Kids and Counting,” and fan base, prompting advertising sponsors to distance themselves from the Duggars and TLC, the show’s home network, to pull episodes of its most popular series, from its programming schedule.
The Guardian reported May 30 that the Duggars will focus on the time period surrounding the alleged incidents in 2002 when Josh Duggar reportedly molested at least five underage girls (four of whom are said to have been his sisters). There is no question of denial involved, because the now 27-year-old publicly admitted to acting “inexcusably” last week, apologizing for his actions.
“Next week we will sit down with Megyn Kelly on Fox News to share our hearts with you about the pain that we walked through as a family 12 years ago, the tears we all shed and the forgiveness that was given,” Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said in a statement on “The Original Duggar Family Blog.”
So how do you go about explaining the inexcusable? And how will the patriarchal Duggars further explain why it took a year for Jim Bob to bring the matter to authorities (then, according to the one Arkansas state trooper they told, allegedly lied to him, admitting to only one act of molestation, which he then, in turn, decided not to report)?
The Duggars, their reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” and Josh Duggar and his parents in particular have been slammed by an outraged public demanding accountability. Jim Bob and Michelle’s interview with Fox News is undoubtedly a public relations effort to mollify the masses, both the fans and supporters and those that look upon the Duggars and their entire lifestyle with disfavor. Then, of course, there are the departing advertisers and the drying up of the Duggars’ cash cow, the show itself, which has been pulled from programming circulation.
Hunter Frederick, who runs a public relations firm, told the Christian Post he has no reason to doubt that Josh Duggar’s apology was sincere. But: “The majority of people that are against the Duggars want some kind of legal punishment, which can’t happen because of our country’s statute of limitations law. That’s why this whole thing is very sticky from a crisis management standpoint. He (Josh) has to pay his debt to society back in some form or fashion. Most of the time that’s legal action, so how does that happen when he can’t be prosecuted?”
But Frederick noted that Duggar would have to do far more than apologize, calling it “one small thing” that has to occur “in this very large problem.” He noted that it wasn’t enough just to suffer the castigation of the public for his honesty after the fact. “A lot of the Duggars’ supporters are saying he’s paying his debt to society back by getting ripped apart in the press, which is ignorant.”
Besides, there are those that feel that the apology was more evasive than sincere. Joel L. Miller, whose article from AncientFaith.com was reposted at the Washington Post, noted that the apology was “disturbing” and totally self-involved, Josh Duggar using over 20 personal pronouns in the nine sentences to talk about himself while speaking to the incidents and victims only twice, and in a vague manner. Miller was also concerned with the playing of the Jesus forgiveness card, where he’s accepted that he’s been forgiven, so everything’s alright.
From Miller: “And the religious version of this is particularly irksome because the offender doesn’t really feign any acceptance of responsibility. Jesus already has it covered, and the rest of us better not judge.”
Miller, like Frederick, suggests Josh Duggar needs to find a way to publicly redress his wrongs to the community at large. Until he does this, the matter will not even begin to move toward a resolution favorable to the majority.
Perhaps that is what Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will attempt to do in their interview. Because, as Josh Duggar’s parents and their responsibility toward him and the young victims of his actions, they too bear a certain culpability regarding what is now considered the inept handling and possible cover-up of their son’s alleged sexual abuses. But evasiveness and misdirection by hiding behind their faith will not be the place to start.
The Duggars will be featured on Wednesday night’s “The Kelly File” on Fox News Channel. They will again appear on a special one-hour edition of “The Kelly File” on Friday night.
(Correction: This article has been altered from the original, which incorrectly stated that Hunter Frederick’s firm once was hired by and worked for the Duggars. From the Christian Post: “Despite rumors that he was hired to help the Duggars get through the scandal, Frederick said things did not work out with the Duggar family for reasons he could not reveal.”)