Josh Duggar, Exec Director of The Family Research Council and formerly of “19 & Counting” is the latest in a long stream of “Who would have guessed?” celebs and public figures engaged in some NSFW behavior.
It’s been a rough year for Duggar who earlier this year admitted to molesting five minors, four of whom were his sisters. TLC canceled 19 & Counting following the first scandal but not before Duggar’s politico supporters and two of his sisters gave him props for asking God for forgiveness.
Duggar’s day-after Ashley Madison Dump Mea Culpa is below. Would he have professed hypocrisy had he not been caught?
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife. I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.”
He went on to profess his apologies for his earlier molestation as well as the current unveiling.
“I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust,” he continued. “The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failings. As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example.”
We expect sex scandals from rock stars, handsome movie stars, and athletes. When someone who built a career based on a wholesome persona, especially when he or she has focused on marginalizing anyone who diverts from a pretty narrow view of acceptable behavior, we can’t help but smirk when he or she is caught with a hand in the cookie jar – or some other body part where it probably doesn’t belong.
Duggar isn’t the first “boy scout” to help old ladies across the street while culling through dating profiles in search of that girl who “is good with her hands and likes to cuddle,” among other things. (Since he would prefer someone he could “teach,” maybe his attempts at infidelity are really service in disguise?) We’ve become somewhat immune to politicians who have fought gay rights and access to birth control while keeping a mistress and some call girls on the side or engaging in a play of foot tapping in a men’s room stall.
We have an interesting relationship with celebrity. Provided pubic figures cop to their dalliances or missteps, we are much more likely to let them off the hook.
Those of you old enough to remember Hugh Grant’s Tonight Show appearance after being caught in flagrante delicto with prostitute Divine Brown. When Jay Leno asked Grant, “What the hell were you thinking?” the actor copped up to the charges. “I did a bad thing.” The appearance was timed to promote his first Hollywood movie and his career took no hits. In fact, he’s created a cottage industry (of more than 17 London real estate holdings and a net worth of over $80 M) from playing the bad boy in films like Bridget Jones Diary.
More often, public figures point fingers at someone else, go into hiding or use doublespeak that challenges the best of Orwell’s 1984.
We sometimes confuse a celebrity’s image with reality, as is the case of Bill Cosby who faces a deposition in connection with one of the 35 plus women who have come forward with sexual assault allegations. Most comment threads about Cosby include at least a few doubters who cannot imagine Dr. Huxtable slipping anyone a Roofie when he should be lecturing some teen in his home office about the dangers of acquaintance rape.
Perhaps part of our acceptance of certain behaviors is dependent on how likable the transgressor – and if he or she humbly accepts the charges, as well as the gravity of the situation. There’s generally not much wiggle room for child exploitation. See Jared Fogle.
Few of us want to own our bad behavior. Kids are quick to deny cheating on a paper when confronted by the teacher. Plenty of husbands – or wives – revealed in the Ashley Madison dump probably backpedaled their involvement. “Someone must have stolen my credit card!”
Celebrities and public figures aren’t so different from the rest of us. Remember that childhood sing-along “Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?” that involved a whole bunch of finger pointing and not accepting the blame?
Admitting our transgressions means not only facing shame but also the possible fallout. The religious often point to transgressors being judged by their Maker but most high-profile figures face plenty of judgment from the public, especially when the “sinner” won’t admit the crime or has judged just about everyone else.
Until the next time a public figure gets caught in scandalous behavior…