Everyone kind of loves to watch the Duggars. No matter your opinion on their beliefs, politics, or rules, it’s undeniably fascinating to get a look inside the very unconventional family. That said, everything that makes it to air has been edited, changed, manipulated, and more in the name of good TV, so you have to wonder what it’s really like to get face time with the giant family. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.
Plenty of former crew members who have worked on the family’s numerous TLC series have come forward to tell their tales from the Duggar homestead over the years, and we’ve got them all here for your reading pleasure (or horror). From firing crew who didn’t conform to their religious beliefs to the family’s ignorance of events outside their home, these stories are wild!
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to spend time with the Counting On stars behind-the-scenes, here’s your inside look at what Michelle, Jim Bob, and the rest of the Duggars are really like!
“Conflicts with talent”
Perhaps the most upsetting tale from behind the scenes involves matriarch Michelle Duggar insisting that a gay crew member be let go from the gig because of their sexual orientation. Following Josh Duggar’s abuse scandal breaking, a writer at Gawkerasked readers to share their inside knowledge of the famous family. At least one guy really delivered.
“In 2008 I worked on the set of what was then known as 17 Kids and Counting and I have something to tell you,” wrote an anonymous source to the reporter in an email. The rest of the email detailed how Michelle, who found out one of the crew members was gay when asking about an upcoming Duggar trip to New York City, became enraged with producers and made sure that the crewmember in question was transferred off of the show.
The source wrote:
“Well, when we returned, we found out that [the crew member] was removed, fired from the set, and transferred to another production, and that none of us are to breathe a word of what we saw to anyone. The official reason given to pacify the Duggars was that he was ‘fired due to causing conflicts with the talent’. Talent! Amazing how such a small sentence can contain so much hyperbole. He was fired 100% because he was gay and for no other reason. The conflict was because he was gay.”
Another little story he let slip in the email concerned the crew members’ interactions with the famous family. Apparently, back in 2008, the Duggars were about as isolated as could be in their little town in Arkansas.
“[M]ost of the crew members being from larger cities, we were all very surprised at how very little they knew or understood about places like New York, Los Angeles, and London,” they wrote, adding that the local newspaper was the family’s only link to the outside world.
“We were constantly reminded that we were not to upset them or taint their version of the world, which is why they wanted limited conversation,” they explained. “Even a lighthearted conversation that might actually educate them about something they were horribly ignorant about was seen as tainting their view. It was very much like being told to not tell your little sister about Santa Claus.”
Another scoop that Gawker got on the family shed some light on just how serious Jim Bob is about his rules on chastity. According to another source, the patriarch of the family punishes his children severely if they are caught engaging in, uh, self-pleasure.
“My cousin’s husband used to work at the Duggar production as well. He has many, many, stories about this family, but one that particularly strikes me as terrible is when one of the older Duggar Boys was caught playing with himself. He said that one of his brothers had told on him for being in the bathroom for a few hours one night, worried that he was sick. Well to see if he really was [sick], Jim Bob walked in. He caught him [playing with himself], and on one of the days the cameras were filming.
Jim Bob’s screams made the crew run to where they were[…]. Immediately they asked him what was wrong. All Jim Could reply was ‘idle hands are the devil’s playthings.’ Apparently, the whole next day [the son] was supposed to do chores around the house. But, Jim Bob had tied his hands together so that doing anything was nearly impossible.”