In a new interview, Ben is trying to do damage control for himself and for the recently-turned-23-year-old.
His apparent purpose was to defend Mahogany and himself from the criticisms of viewers.
Honestly? In this interview, Ben comes across looking worse than anything that we’ve seen on the show.
Entertainment Tonight‘s Melicia Johnson speaks to all sorts of famous lunatics while managing a polite smile.
Recently, she spoke to Ben Rathbun, and managed to keep her composure even when he said extremely creepy things.
But before he delved into all of the ways in which the cult has not left him even though he left it, he defended Mahogany.
Mahogany’s photos were laughably fake … but, in Ben’s mind, this wasn’t as dishonest as viewers seem to think.
“In my opinion, there’s two different kinds of people that do social media,” Ben opined.
“One is someone that wants to show what’s going on in their lives every single day,” he began.
“And,” Ben described, “they want to be real and authentic and show everyone who they are.”
He admitted: “When I see Mahogany’s page, it’s not like that at all.”
“She posts maybe once every two or three months and it’s just for fun, it’s more for art,” Ben claimed.
“Like, if you look at her page, it’s just a bunch of pictures of selfies that look really well done,” Ben argued.
“And,” he continued. “some are like from two or three years ago. She doesn’t, you know, update.”
Ben explained: “So, in my opinion, she’s not really trying to deceive anyone, she’s having a fun time.”
“We’ve all kind of done Snapchat filters and had a good time with it — she just posted it,” Ben rationalized.
“She never thought the entire world would be looking at that and judging her for it,” he continued.
Ben characterized: “You know, she was just having fun. So I don’t have any problem with it … it’s fine, it doesn’t really matter.”
Ben insisted that Mahogany “wasn’t being deceptive at all” when she altered her photos, even if Ben seemed clueless about how doctored they were.
“To me it was much more of a spiritual connection,” he added.
As for Mahogany’s age, he justified that because she “didn’t keep reiterating the lie.”
“It was a one-time lie,” Ben stated.
“Something that I would tell my kids, if you meet a strange, older man online,” he suggested.
Ben would advise them: “Don’t tell him your social security number, don’t tell him your address, don’t tell him your age.”
“If you do tell them your age, change it up because you don’t know if they’re going to be a stalker or a crazy person,” Ben sagely advised.
“So, not a problem with me at all,” he claimed.
“So the age thing to me is us not pursuing the truth together and me like, not following up well,” Ben said. “I just did a lot of assuming.”
As for Mahogany being 22 and not 24, Ben said that “that’s not that big a deal to me as for the age of my kids because I don’t look at it that way.”
He added: “She’s a completely separate adult and it doesn’t matter to me if my kids are that age.”
“It’s just something that caught me off guard,” Ben said. “I had to think about it for a minute.”
“But this has become so much more than age, so much more than, you know, our differences,” Ben said, like so many other men in their fifties before him.
“The things we’ve been really focusing on are our commonalities,” he characterized. “And so far those outweigh our differences.”
Ben praised: “And she is so mature and wise and intelligent, that I haven’t really felt that difference.”
Ben went even further, insisting that he’d be okay “letting” his own 22-year-old daughter date a 50-year-old man.
Unfortunately, he went about this in the creepiest way possible.
Ben’s explanation had huge “you can leave the cult but the cult won’t leave you” energy that viewers found off-putting at best.
“There’s no one in this world that loves Mahogany more than her dad,” Ben announced.
“And so all of the viewers out there that are so concerned for her and think that I’m a predator coming after a young girl,” he acknowledged.
Ben asked these viewers to “trust me when I say the dad cares more about the situation than anyone from the outside.”
“So, if he sees that I am very, very healthy — which is, I find myself the exception and I’m sure that’s probably rationalizing what I’m doing so I’ll give you that,” Ben said.
“But I am incredibly healthy,” he insisted. “I take care of my body and it’s a huge priority and I want to live for a very long time and I want to live in the best health that I can.”
Is Ben suggesting that a massive age gap is okay because he has abs, but would not be okay if he weren’t a fitness model? That’s … weird.
It got weirder, however, as Ben described fathers as the “first protector” of their daughters.
In his mind, his relationship with Mahogany hinged entirely upon the approval of her dad, even though she’s an adult woman and not her dad’s property.
Ben suggested that it would be the same for a man wanting to date his daughter, which critics quickly noted sounded like something out of the Duggar cult.
Ben also claimed that Mahogany’s obviously fake house was a place that she had stayed for a few months.
It’s unclear if Ben thinks that he is covering for Mahogany or if these are things that he has come to believe since last season filmed.
Melicia clearly wasn’t buying it and neither is anyone else, but we suppose that it hardly matters if Ben is fooled. And Ben seems to always be fooled.