These days, the Duggars are internationally renowned and arguably the most famous evangelicals on the planet.
But there was a time when they were just a humble — albeit massive — family from Arkansas with a whole lot of mouths to feed and little knowledge of the outside world.
Actually, that’s partially a narrative constructed by TLC, as Jim Bob has always had huge ambitions in the worlds of politics and business, but we’ll leave that conversation for another time.
Anyway, in the pre-Josh Duggar sex scandal days when the family’s original show — 19 Kids and Counting — had yet to be canceled, producers reveled in forcing the rubes to leave their beloved compound and interact with big city folk.
Sometimes this resulted in lame, fish-out-of-water, Beverly Hillbillies humor.
On other occasions, however, it served to highlight the bigotry inherent to the Duggars’ belief system.
The most appalling example of the latter type of scenario occurred way back in 2008, when Jim Bob and Michelle were not quite through breeding, and the show was titled 17 Kids and Counting.
The incident was first reported by Gawker in 2015, but in recent weeks, it’s become a topic of heated debate on Duggar-related message boards for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.
But while we may be uncertain of why the controversy has been unearthed, it remains a potent reminder of the hate and homophobia that exist at the very heart of the Duggars’ belief system, and so we’re happy to revisit it.
According to crew members who worked on the show at that time, the Duggars were preparing for a trip to New York City when Michelle suddenly became anxious.
She admitted to several behind-the-scenes staffers that she was nervous about the trip due to rumors she had heard regarding NYC’s diverse population.
“Well, I hear the city is overrun by gays,” Michelle said to the crew.
“Has that been causing a lot of problems?”
One of the crew members reportedly gestured to an openly gay co-worker to indicate to Michelle that she would be just fine.
Everyone laughed — except, presumably, for Michelle — who complained to the show’s top brass about the crew member’s sexual orientaton.
Shortly thereafter, the unidentified staffer was transferred to a different project belonging to the same production company.
So he was not “fired,” as some reports suggest, but he was hurried from the Duggars’ home, never to have any contact with the family again.
“They kept a very tight lid on this incident,” an insider told Gawker.
“On future tapings when new crews would be swapped in, they were suspiciously more and more straight-edged Christian than you’d typically see on the set of a television show.”
Michelle, of course, has a long history of practicing and expressing some shockingly bigoted beliefs.
She long ago cut ties with Evelyn Ruark, her openly gay sister, seemingly for no other reason than that Evelyn is a lesbian.
Back in 2014, Michelle lent her voice to robocalls supporting a series of discriminatory, transphobic laws regarding housing and bathroom use.
We joke at the Duggars’ expense an awful lot around here.
But frequently, we’re reminded that their shockingly backward worldview is no laughing matter.
Duggar Family: Secrets of Their Twisted Ministry RevealedStart Gallery
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