Duggar Fans to Josh: We Forgive You For Molesting Your Sisters!

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On May 21, it will be two years since the world learned that Josh Duggar molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters.

The actual crimes took place many years earlier, of course, but Josh's parents assisted him in avoiding prosecution and keeping his predatory ways under wraps.

Anna Duggar Ultrasound Photos

At the time, it was widely believed that the Duggars' stint as reality television stars had come to an end thanks to this astonishing revelation.

Surely, it was believed, no public figures, no matter how beloved, could bounce back from such hypocrisy, and such a revolting scandal.

For a time, it seemed that the public was right.

As fans eviscerated Josh, and to a degree Jim Bob and Michelle, advertisers started bending over backwards to cut ties with TLC en masse.

When that happens, any network reads the writing on the wall, and TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting, the show that made the Duggars famous.

Amazingly, however, the Duggar PR machine kept on churning, and slowly but surely (or not even that slowly), the brand was rebuilt.

Josh Duggar Cries

Between the family's tireless efforts to remain relevant and the cultish devotion of their most die hard fans, it happened.

Jim Bob Duggar - the Kris Jenner of the Bible Belt - was eventually able to finagle a second series out of the network.

The confusingly named Counting On premiered in March of 2016 on TLC, but this time around, the Duggars were bound by a new set of guidelines:

The network reportedly demanded that the show focus solely on the lives of the eldest Duggar daughters with no appearances by Jim Bob and Michelle.

(That rule was violated almost immediately, although the parents of 19 have assumed less prominent roles in the ensuing seasons.)

Most importantly, of course, TLC execs demanded that Josh Duggar never appear on the series. No way, no how. 

Duggar Throwback Image

The family seemed to recognize the necessity of that rule, going to hilariously awkward lengths to keep Josh off camera (see gallery below).

But the 29-year-old sexual predator is still around, and he makes appearances on the Duggar family's official Facebook page.

One recent throwback photo (above) has prompted some impassioned, surprising reactions from Counting On fanatics, too.

The image is a "throwback" to 2003, around the time when Josh was subjecting his young sisters to his revolting advances.

Bizarrely, it seemed to make some fans of the family nostalgic.

Commented one fan: “What a great picture!!"

"What a great tree limb too!! It would be nice to see a new one!! Love you guys and hope to see the WHOLE family back on TV soon!!” 

Josh Duggar and Child

“Miss the WHOLE family!” wrote another.

The implication is quite clear, of course.

Obviously, there's a contingent of fans who believe the punishment of not being a TV star anymore is too harsh for the crime of serial child molestation.

Thankfully, however, there are those who recognize the severity of Josh's misconduct and remain vocal in their belief that ... well, he's terrible.

“I was like ‘oh nice photo’ and then I realized what those poor girls were probably going through and it started making me sick,” wrote one.

“Back when they were getting touched over the clothes,” echoed another, not mincing words about the era when the image was taken.

Duggars: Counting On!

Part of what rubbed fans the wrong way - besides the obvious crimes, that is - was how the Duggars handled it after the scandal broke.

Jim Bob's argument that Josh's crimes were less severe because he only groped his sisters "over the clothes" did not exactly play well.

(Nor did the fact that the "family values" lobbyist was also outed as an adulterer in the Ashley Madison hack, but that's another issue.)

In any case, it's astonishing that the family has been given another chance at stardom after one of the most repugnant scandals in TV history.

Yet what's equally, if not more shocking, is that there are many people out there who believe Josh Duggar is a victim in all of this.

Wow.

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