In its relatively short history, the world of reality television has witnessed countless scandals.
But no one is shocked and horrified as much as Josh Duggar’s strange, nasty story.
After years of horrific reports of his predatory behavior, Josh was convicted in December for receiving and possessing child pornography.
Last month, he was sentenced to 11 and a half years in federal prison.
Almost as shocking as Josh’s crimes was the unbridled complicity that allowed him to get away with so much for so long.
Even in his teens, Josh abuses five young girlsfour of whom were his sisters.
His parents knew about these crimes and worked hard to help their son avoid prosecution.
When news of the attacks went public in 2015, the Dougers suffered only minor damage to their professional prospects, as TLC executives shockingly allowed the family to remain on television.
At the time, TLC and its parent company, Discovery, had partnered with Duggars for nearly a decade.
And even reports of child abuse and coordinated cover-ups could not persuade Discovery executives to end their business relationship with Duggars.
But while no one from the organization has come forward to take responsibility for promoting this deeply damaged family, a writer named Andrea Cooper has written a compelling essay in which she admits she feels guilty about the small role she played in the rise. of Duggars.
“The Duggars were not known until someone introduced them to the world. That someone was me. ” Cooper writes in a new song for the Huffington Post.
Cooper says that while working for a national magazine, her editor asked her to write a profile for Michelle Duggar.
No one involved with the song could have predicted what happened next.
“After my article was published, someone from the Discovery Health Channel read it and ordered a documentary about the Duggars channel, according to Michelle on the family’s website,” Cooper said.
This eventually led to the TLC reality show “17 Kids and Counting” – a show that aired in some kind of incarnation for seven years, but which I never watched.
Cooper says she’s never been a Duggars fan, but her apathy has turned into disgust after the first of Josh’s many public sex scandals.
“For years, my relationship with Duggars was a funny story, accompanied by rolling my eyes,” she wrote.
“I could have ignored Duggars until May 2015, when In Touch Weekly published a story entitled ’19 Children and the Census of’ Son Named in Juvenile Sex Investigation ‘, identifying Josh Duggar as the alleged perpetrator,” Cooper continued.
“Within weeks, Michelle Duggar and her husband, Jim Bob, told Fox News’s Megin Kelly that Joshua had bullied five girls, including four of his sisters.
The author goes on to reveal that he feels a very personal, very painful relationship with Josh’s victims:
“Like millions of others, I felt deeply saddened by the effects of Joshua Dugar’s behavior,” she wrote.
“I thought about my unsuspecting role in the family’s rise to fame and what I could share not with the parents who are my age, but with several of their daughters. I myself am a victim of violence against children.
Cooper goes on to highlight a very important way in which Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar failed all their children:
“Young people who engage in harmful sexual behavior can be treated, and treated children are much less likely to touch inappropriately in the future,” she said.
Cooper notes that parents doubled that mistake by allowing their abused and troubled children to film their lives for a reality TV show.
“Joshua Dugar is reported to have harassed five girls, not one. His parents later agreed to a reality TV show with a decision I can only attribute to shameless impudence.
“It is often impossible to know how our decisions will develop or to predict how an innocent history of self-interest can change so many lives in so many ways,” Cooper wrote.
“I tend to feel responsible for everything – call it the legacy of the experience of violence – and in part because of that I feel a little responsible for the release of Duggars in the world. But I also know that if I hadn’t written about them, some other writer would have done it in the end. “
Apparently, the only ones responsible for Josh’s predatory behavior throughout his life were Josh himself and the people who helped him cover up his crimes.
But the atrocities that have taken place in this home are so horrific that conscientious people who have had the slightest contact with the Duggars are likely to be haunted by the family’s many atrocities for many years to come.