After facing months of controversy, the Duggar family from TLC’s “19 Kids & Counting” has responded to their critics. The backlash against the reality-TV clan began last month when a movement of people demanded the show be pulled off the air following evidence that the family's may have an anti-LGBT agenda.
Things began in early November when a petition on Change.org picked up steam urging the network to take the show, which follows the lives of a conservative Baptist family with 19 children, off the air. As of Wednesday afternoon, the online petition had more than 182,000 digital signatures from people who believe the family is supporting “LGBT fear mongering.” Speaking at a Booster Banquet at Hannibal-LaGrange University, family patriarch, Jim Bob Duggar, addressed his critics head on.
“They won’t succeed,” he said, according to The Pathway. “Our show is the number one show on TLC. We love everybody. It’s a small group creating this fuss. All it has done is give us more exposure. We’ve gained 50,000 Facebook fans last week. God is expanding our borders through the national media.”
Jim Wissick of San Jose, California, reportedly started the petition after the Duggar family's mom, Michelle, released a pre-recorded message to voters in her local town of Fayetteville, Arkansas. She urged people to reject a law that would forbid business owners and landlords from denying employment or housing to someone based on their sexual orientation or identity. Mrs. Duggar argued that this law would allow men, who identify as women, that may be child predators, to legally occupy restrooms and locker rooms meant for women and girls.
“Duggar words reek of ignroance and fear mongering. Just because someone is transgendered doesn't mean they are a child predator or a rapist,” the petition page reads. “The claim that this ordinance would provide predators with access to women's restrooms in order to assault or leer at girls or women is nothing more than fear-mongering and spreading ignornace and hatred.”
The Duggar family was forced to respond to anti-LGBT community allegations last month when they were caught deleting pictures of same-sex couples kissing from their Facebook page. The controversy started after the family put out a call for married couples to post photos of themselves kissing on the social media account (run by them and not TLC). Although many same-sex photos made the cut, the family responded to criticism that it initially tried to keep such images off its page.
“We will always stand for truth and the values we hold dear without compromise but we will do so in love and kindness-- treating others well even if we don't agree with them and we will do so without hateful words,” the family wrote, along with a quote from Luke 6:27.
The Duggar family is currently filming “19 Kids & Counting” for TLC. Season 9 of the show is set to return in 2015.