When Josh Duggar got arrested on child pornpgraphy charges in April of 2021, the news sadly did not come as much of a surprise for those familiar with his family and the culture of abuse that they helped to foster.
It was not the first sex scandal that the eldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had been involved with.
In 2015, the world learned that Josh had molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters.
Shockingly, his family’s multi-million dollar media empire survived that scandal and continued to thrive for several more years.
It was only after Josh’s arrest last year that TLC finally canceled Counting On and severed ties with the Duggars.
In December, Josh was convicted of receiving and possessing child pornography.
He’s currently being held in an Arkansas jail where he awaits his April sentencing hearing.
The situation has led many critics and former fans to re-examine the Duggars’ problematic history, particularly with regard to the family’s unusual views on sex and relationship.
Jim Bob and Michelle raise their children to believe that sex is to take place only within the confines of marriage, and even then only for procreative purposes.
This belief is not unusual in evangelical communities, but the Duggars take it a step further, prohibiting virtually all forms of physical contact between unmarried members of the opposite sex.
Unmarried Duggars are not even allowed to kiss or “front-hug” their romantic partners, and all dates are chaperoned to ensure strict compliance with these rules.
In the wake of Josh’s imprisonment, many have raised questions about these restrictions:
Did they contribute to Josh’s deviancy? How was he able to get away with his crimes in such a heavily-supervised environment?
Some have turned to the footage, reviewing old episodes of the Duggars’ reality shows in search of clues to where it all went wrong.
A scene that’s gained a lot of horrified attention this week is the one in which Josh’s cousin Amy counsels him ahead of his wedding.
The clip was posted on the r/DuggarSnark subreddit, and many users were more than a little nauseated by what they saw.
The scne opens wirh Amy setting the stage.
“He’s got a lot of firsts today. He’s got his first kiss his first … everything,” she says during an interview with producers.
She then bites her lower lip and mimicked Josh, saying, “When is the wedding night?!”
The show then cuts to a scene in which Amy asks Josh is he’s nervous about the kiss.
He counters that he’s excited, and she offers to give him “a couple pointers,” conceding that she’s “kissed a few boys” in the past.
The cousins then go into detail about the planned kiss, with Amy saying, “I want a grand finale. I don’t want a peck.”
“Don’t think we haven’t talked about this,” Josh replies.
For obvious reasons, the scene didn’t play well with the Duggar Snark crowd.
“Licking his lips while glancing at hers. He’s a freak,” wrote one commenter.
“Well that was just all sorts of gross. Why do they seem to be into each other?” another added.
“It feels like there’s so much flirting going on here. Gross,” a third chimed in.
“This is so disturbing,” a fourth succinctly observed.
To her credit, Amy has been highly critical of Josh, as well as the culture that enabled him.
She celebrated his conviction, and she appears to have cut ties with his parents.
Still, the scene serves as a reminder of the extent to which the Duggars’ bizarre behavior was normalized at the height of the family’s fame.