A day after Josh Duggar’s personal information was exposed in a hack of the infidelity website Ashley Madison, the disgraced reality star is apologizing to his fans.
The eldest son from TLC’s now-canceled reality hit 19 Kids And Counting issued a statement today on his family’s website, which read in part: “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have been unfaithful to my wife.” Duggar also says, “The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failures.” He concludes by asking for forgiveness and prayers for his “precious wife Anna and our family during this time.”
This marks Duggar’s second sex scandal in three months. On May 21, it was revealed that he had been investigated for fondling underage girls, including some of his sisters, when he was a teenager. TLC responded by pulling all 19 Kids episodes off the air the next day. The popular series’ fourth season had ended that week, and the network said at the time that it was “deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation.”
But as news of the allegations exploded on social and traditional media, the network and parent company Discovery Communications took heat for continuing their lucrative relationship with the family despite years-long rumors of impropriety. TLC officially canceled the program on July 16 — the morning the Emmy noms were read.
TLC later announced that it had teamed with two child-protection organizations for an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. It also unveiled plans to air a documentary that would include the participation of Jill and Jessa Duggar, two of Josh’s victims, as well as other survivors and families affected by abuse. Breaking The Silence is slated to air August 30.
As for Josh Duggar’s public apology for being linked to the website whose slogan is “Life is short — have an affair,” it remains to be seen whether the family’s devoted fans will accept it. Meanwhile, no news on whether anyone has pitched a spinoff called 19 Mistresses And Counting.