Josh Duggar, revealed yesterday as a user of a website that facilitates extramarital affairs, has posted a statement of apology for his conduct, saying, “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever.”
A hack of the Ashley Madison website revealed that Duggar had a paid account on the hookup site for two years. He is the oldest child in the conservative Christian family made famous by the reality TV show 19 Kids and Counting, and is known for his antigay activism, including work as a lobbyist for the Family Research Council. He resigned that post in May after revelations that as a teenager he had sexually abused several underage girls, including some of his sisters.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever,” Duggar posted on his family’s official website today. “While espousing faith and family values, I have been 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 continued, “The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country I was hiding my own personal failures.” He closes by asking for forgiveness and prayers for his wife, Anna, and their family. They have four young children.
Josh’s statement is prefaced by one from his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. “When we learned of this late last night our hearts were broken,” they posted. “As we continue to place our trust in God we ask for your prayers for Josh, Anna, our grandchildren and our entire family.”
Shortly after Josh Duggar's statement was published on the family website Thursday morning, links to the page became unresponsive. When the statement was again made available on the site, it appeared to have been edited, several LGBT journalists and activists quickly reported.
Gawker has a running tally of all the edits made to the statement from the version originally posted, including removing Duggar's apparent admission to a "secret addiction" to "viewing pornography on the internet," as well as a claim that Duggar "had allowed Satan to build a fortress [in his heart] that no one knew about."
The Duggars’ reality show was canceled by TLC in July, in the wake of the sex abuse scandal. Two of the Duggar daughters, Jessa and Jill, are to appear on an August 30 TLC special about child sex abuse; they have said Josh touched them in a sexual manner but they have forgiven him. The family is reportedly seeking a new reality TV gig in which Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar would counsel victims of sexual abuse.
The family has a long history of anti-LGBT actions, including a robocall Michelle recorded for a successful campaign against a Fayetteville, Ark., LGBT rights ordinance, in which she claimed transgender people prey on children. The family has taken homophobic stances even though Michelle has a lesbian sister, Evelyn Ruark.