Like many others, John Andrew Studdard spoke out against former Counting On star Derick Dillard's homophobic and transphobic tweets. Unlike many others, however, John is actually related to the Duggar family. And he was even developing his own reality show to counter theirs… until, according to reports, his parents torpedoed the project. Here's the chronology of how it all went down.
Details about John are scarce online, but we know his mother is a cousin of Jim Bob Duggar — meaning he and the TLC family patriarch are first cousins once removed and he and Derick's wife, Jim Bob's daughter Jill, are second cousins. He says he last saw Derick at Derick and Jill's 2014 wedding. "We aren't close," he told Radar Online in early May. "But I'm sick of hearing his homophobic cries for publicity."
In that first interview, John blasted Derick for spewing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. "Derick needs to keep his mouth shut," he said. "We don't have to agree with someone's life, but don't speak out publicly when you know you're already disliked by half of America. As a public figure, he should stop being so harsh." (Some media outlets claim John is openly gay, but Radar only specified that he's an LGBTQ activist. "I believe love is everywhere," he told the site. "Everyone should just be happy!")
A day later, Radar reported John was in talks for his own reality show, one less conservative than the Duggar family's. "I think their time is up," he told the site. "Producers reached out to me about doing a show because I have a unique storyline, being Asian [and] adopted into an [all-Caucasian] family living in the South." He said he "could carry a show way better" because he is open to all identities.
"Every religion, gender, sexual orientation, and race is important," he elaborated. "I'm somewhat conservative, but I know how to keep my opinions to myself! My show will be the real South: good style and a lot of colorful personalities. I could carry a show of my own with topics that could reach all audiences. I'm way more fun!"
Two weeks later, however, Radar reported John's parents were preventing his reality show from going forward because he dared to speak out against Derick. "The producers were hoping to do a show with his immediate family, but all of his immediate family declined," a source told the site. "They think it's tacky that John Andrew spoke out about Derick's beliefs and have warned him if he speaks out publicly again he will be cut off financially."
John was "begging" the producer to give him another chance, the source said, because he "wants to build a platform to spread awareness for causes [and] wants to build an empire bigger than his distant cousins." We'll see if that happens — but for what it's worth, we would watch his show!