June 23, 2024

The Duggar Family: don’t count out Jill

The infamous Duggar family from the hit show “19 Kids and Counting” have found themselves in the spotlight once again after the recent releases of “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets,” an Amazon Prime Video documentary, and Jill Duggar Dillard’s book “Counting the Cost.”

The Duggars became a household name after their debut on TLC with their show “19 Kids and Counting,” which highlighted their religious lifestyle and chaotic life with almost two dozen children. 

However, they have also found themselves in quite a few scandals in recent years with the arrest of their oldest son, Josh Duggar, as well as their involvement with Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). 

This summer, Amazon Prime released a documentary titled “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets.” This documentary series digs into the affiliation of the Duggar family with Bill Gothard’s controversial Institute in Basic Life Principles, which is known to be an extreme Christian fundamentalist organization. 

The four-episode docuseries includes interviews from the fourth oldest Duggar child, Jill Duggar Dillard, her husband, Derick Dillard, Jim Bob Duggar’s sister, Deanna Duggar and her daughter, Amy King Duggar, old friends of the Duggar Family and former members of the IBLP organization. 

Parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

The documentary focuses primarily on Bill Gothard and the creation of IBLP, allowing survivors of this organization a platform to speak out on their experiences. However, the documentary also discusses the Duggar Family and their involvement in this organization, this being the part that has caught attention.

The documentary also briefly touches on the scandals and the arrest of the first-born Duggar child, Josh Duggar. 

In 2015, it was released that Josh Duggar was linked to the molestation of five girls when he was 14 and 15-years-old, two of which were his younger sisters, Jessa Duggar Seawald and Jill Duggar Dillard. The scandal continued in 2021 when he was arrested on federal charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.  

Following the molestation allegations, Jessa Duggar Seawald and Jill Duggar Dillard appeared in an interview with Megyn Kelly, where they both shared that they were unaware of Josh Duggar’s actions, saying they were asleep and had forgiven their brother. 

Though not wanting to share the details of her trauma, in her interview for “Shiny Happy People,” Jill Duggar Dillard shares that she felt pressured to do the Megyn Kelly interview and bear the burden of the scandal that her family was facing. 

Jill was the first of the Duggar children to speak out against her family and remains the most outspoken, especially with the recent release of her book “Counting the Cost,” on Sept. 12. 

In her book, and even briefly in the documentary, she touches on the lack of compensation that she has received from TLC during her time on the channel and the rift this has caused between her and her father. 

This even includes the televised birth of her first son that Jill and Derick had asked not to be filmed. After the birth was filmed and shared on television, the new parents asked for TLC to at least pay them enough to cover their out-of-pocket hospital expenses. They were denied and TLC claimed that the money was given to the family, and by family, that meant the money was given to father Jim Bob Duggar. 

Jill claims that Jim Bob has outwardly refused to issue any of the money from TLC to any of his children at this time. 

When Jill announced her memoir in May, Jim Bob issued a warning text where he allegedly threatened to cut his children out of the inheritance entirely. However, this has not stopped Jill as she continues to seek out payment, saying that Jim Bob treats her worse than her “pedophile brother.” 

While some of the other Duggar children, like Jessa and Jinger, have begun to stray away from the family teachings, they have ultimately remained silent and have not made any public statement. 

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