Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar Comment On Josh Duggar Controversy In Sit-Down With Fox News' Megyn Kelly
As expected, Fox News aired the first part of The Kelly File host Megyn Kelly's interview with Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar following the controversy surrounding acts of sexual molestation allegedly committed by their eldest son, Josh Duggar, when he was 14 and 15 years old. Although Kelly's full interview — in which she revealed that she would refrain from getting into the "specific details about what was done because my understanding is the victims don't want to discuss that either, they don't want it discussed," — won't air on Fox News Channel until Friday, June 5, Wednesday's episode of The Kelly File included nearly an hour's worth of footage of Kelly's interview with the Duggar parents. During the hour, the Duggars commented on the controversy surrounding Josh, and, throughout the interview, seemed to be focusing on clearing Josh's name.
Though the couple seems to present a family trying to cope with the news together — at one point, Jim Bob even urges media outlets to focus on the fact that police reports detailing the alleged sexual assaults somehow made their way into public eye despite the fact that the accused, Josh, was a juvenile at the time the reports were filed. Though Jim Bob begins by stating, "Twelve years ago, we went through one of the most darkest times our family has ever gone through," he quickly maintains that Josh's alleged victims did not know anything, and, for that reason, they initially wanted to "handle [the situation] in-house." Michelle agreed, stating, "they weren't even aware, to them they probably didn't even understand it was improper touch," before adding the family put "safeguards" — not letting the girls be alone with men, for instance — to ensure the safety of their children.
"We were trying to protect and watch and make sure that their hearts were safe, and that they had a safe place to talk," Michelle said.
Responding to criticisms that they didn't take action in response to Josh's alleged actions, Jim Bob continued, "Michelle and I both were keeping an eye on Josh all the time... it was a situation where we felt like our son's heart had gone astray. As parents, we still loved Josh, and we loved our other ones...the ray of hope was that Josh had came and told us. [SIC]"
It's something that the couple would go on to repeat numerous times: That by coming to them and confessing his alleged acts of sexual assault, his heart, as Jim Bob would state, "was still soft." When Kelly asks about how they felt not as Josh's parents, but as the parents of his alleged victims, the couple didn't answer the question — and instead explained that, after sending Josh to get counseling from a Christian source, they felt it was an "important step" for him to confess to the police. "We went in to Arkansas state police, we went in and talked to him... [Josh] told everything," Jim Bob said.
When asked how the family felt about 19 Kids and Counting being yanked from TLC's schedule, and whether or not they were worried about the show being cancelled, the Duggars maintained that they were not focused on the show, and were just dealing with the news as a family. Additionally, they did not specify whether or not TLC had given them indication that the show would end.
"Our family is just trying to regroup from these attacks," Jim Bob said.
On May 21, Josh released a statement to People magazine commenting on the controversy, saying:
Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.
The rest of Kelly's interview with the Duggars, including her sit-down with Duggar daughters Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald, will air on The Kelly File Friday, June 5, at 9 PM EST.
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