From what I understand, Mike Huckabee has taken a break from trashing Beyoncé to explain that he stands behind the Duggars after it was revealed that Joshua sexually molested several girls, including his sisters. I guess wearing revealing outfits while you sing is a whole lot worse than rape.
I came across a comment on my Facebook feed from someone I don’t know about how the Duggars are facing more repercussions than other celebrities who have committed heinous acts, presumably for political or religious reasons. As far as I know, though, the Duggars aren’t facing any legal penalties, just having their show canceled, and I’m sure that’s because the sponsors don’t want to be associated with them. That’s all about money, not politics or religion. And I think you have to take into account that Josh and other members of the Duggar clan have made themselves out to be moral authorities, claiming that homosexuality was immoral and linked to child molestation. I’ve also heard that the patriarch spoke in favor of the death penalty for incest.
Not that the opinions of these people should really count for anything. I mean, they were basically on television as a circus sideshow, so that audiences could gape at how many kids they had. Not that I feel bad for the parents, as they’re making plenty of money. I do, however, feel for the children on so-called reality shows like that. I’ve never watched 19 Kids and Counting, but my wife used to force me to watch Toddlers and Tiaras, and it was just disturbing how terrible some of those parents were. Granted, the shows are edited so we don’t always know the whole story, but I’m not sure there’s any excuse for some of what they put their kids through, and this is what they’re willing to have broadcast on national television. Even the title of the Duggars’ show suggests that they see their kids more as a commodity than as actual human beings, and the truth is apparently far worse. They’re really not allowed to have any individuality at all, particularly the women, who are basically just baby factories. As Beth pointed out, if you have that many kids at the same time, can you really know any of them? The even more disturbing thing is that, even though it’s essentially a freak show, some people still hold them up as role models. Why? I don’t know for sure, but it seems that people who use religion to defend bigotry are really keen on famous people who share their views, even if these people are famous for stupid reasons. If a guy who eats bugs for money is against gay marriage, he’d likely become a darling of the Religious Right. How do you think Kirk Cameron still has a career?
The problem is, if you have a holier-than-thou attitudes, those who don’t share your beliefs are going to have a greater sense of schadenfreude when you’re revealed to be a hypocrite. Look at Bill Cosby, lecturing kids about wearing baggy pants while sexually assaulting women. Or Bill O’Reilly, self-appointed media watchdog who allegedly dragged his wife around by the neck. I just wish people weren’t abused in the process. I think Woody Allen and Roman Polanski were way too easily forgiven by the entertainment industry, but I know of no indication that they made themselves out to be moral authorities.
I do have to say it’s a bit of a lame argument when someone calls out a celebrity for reprehensible behavior, and someone comes back with, “But Celebrity X did something just as bad or worse!” That’s really the best you can do? I do, however, think some celebrities’ crimes or alleged crimes are much more easily dismissed than others. I’ve seen it suggested a few times that Chris Brown gets more flak than other abusers because he’s black, and while that might be a factor, I don’t think it’s the whole story. At the risk of oversimplifying, I think it’s more that Chris Brown was never all that famous as a musician with white people. If he hadn’t beaten up Rihanna, I don’t think I’d have any idea who he was. For me, that’s a different story than someone like Bill Murray, who is said to have abused his wife, but was in movies I quite enjoyed as well. Does that excuse him, or make the allegations less likely to be true? Of course not, but I do think it’s somewhat natural to try to find excuses for people whose work we admire, as totally unfair as that might be. So I guess if you like the Duggars for whatever reason, you’re going to want to find a way to forgive them. Since they appear to only be famous for being prejudiced and self-centered, however, why WOULD you like them?