Exclusive‘Shiny Happy People’ Producers, Directors Weigh in on Josh Duggar: He ‘Has His Own Story to Tell’
The directors and producers of Prime Video’s Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets weigh in on how the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) ties into Josh Duggar’s molestation scandal while exclusively speaking to In Touch.
“We wanted to be sensitive to everybody involved and really focus on the survivors,” codirector and executive producer Julia Willoughby Nason tells In Touch during a video interview about how they handled discussing Josh, 35, and his scandals.
Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar’s eldest son was reported to have molested multiple underage girls, including four of his sisters, when he was a teenager.
He was later arrested in April 2021 and found guilty of one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography in December 2021. The second charge was dropped during the former TLC star’s sentencing hearing. Josh is currently serving time at FCI Seagoville in Seagoville, Texas.
“Josh has his own story to tell, but I think it’s also important for him to reflect on over his time away in prison right now,” Willoughby Nason continues. “And everybody in this system seems like victims of abuse because the system itself is just damaging to people’s individual freedoms.”
Meanwhile, many members of the docuseries’ team agree that the 19 Kids and Counting alum’s scandals are linked to IBLP.
Executive producer Blye Faust says that Josh’s “unfortunate story and the things that he did were really emblematic, unfortunately, of the abuses that were going on in IBLP.”
“He is clearly somebody that people are familiar with and his story is shocking. And it’s horrifying and it’s something that people may have heard about or can identify that story, but he is only the tip of the iceberg,” she explains.
Faust adds that the limited series uses Josh “as an illustration,” though viewers will also “hear the stories of the other survivors who are not even part of the Duggar family and their stories that are not dissimilar to what Josh perpetrated against his sisters and then the ultimate child pornography charges.”
“So he is just a symbol of the larger hole in the larger problem,” she concludes about the disgraced reality star.
Shiny Happy People looks into the Duggars and other members of IBLP, the non-denominational Christian organization established by Bill Gothard in 1961.
IBLP has been heavily criticized for the way it treats women. In 2014, dozens of women came forward with allegations that the founder sexually harassed them. After Gothard was put on administrative leave and the claims were investigated by outside counsel, the organization released a statement claiming that “no criminal activity” was found though Gothard “acted in an inappropriate manner.”
The scandals continued when 10 women filed a lawsuit claiming that Gothard and the IBLP church leaders sexually harassed them, abused them and covered up their alleged wrongdoings in 2016. The case was eventually dismissed due to statute of limitation issues, while Gothard has denied the allegations.
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets will be available to stream on Prime Video on Friday, June 2.
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