Columnist Dan Savage ripped reality show matriarch Michelle Duggar on Friday for openly campaigning against anti-discrimination protection for LGBT Arkansans while keeping secret the actual molestation committed by her son Josh.
“Just the hypocrisy of Michelle Duggar, demagoguing and demonizing LGBT people while at the same time having covered up for and protected her son — who had actually molested at least 5 little girls that we know of — is just staggering,” Savage told MSNBC host Chris Hayes. “It’s galling.”
Savage’s remarks were a reference to the elder Duggar lending her voice to “robocalls” last year calling for Ordinance 119, which allowed trans residents in Fayetteville, Arkansas to use locker rooms or bathrooms according to their gender identity.
In the calls, Duggar warned against “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female” being allowed near their daughters in “their private space.”
But it was revealed earlier this week that by the time she recorded the calls, her son Josh Duggar had already fondled underage girls — including his own sisters — when he was 14-year-old. But instead of being arrested, Hayes said, the younger Duggar was sent away from the family’s home for “hard physical work and counseling.” No charges were ever filed.
On Thursday, Josh Duggar resigned his position at the Family Research Council after confirming the allegations, and the family’s show, 19 Kids and Counting, was pulled off the air at The Learning Channel a day later.
Hayes said on Friday that he could not imagine how Michelle and her husband, Jim Bob Duggar, could let their family go on national television given the nature of the secret they were keeping.
“As a parent, it just gobsmacks me,” Hayes said. “It gobsmacks me to do this to your kids.”
However, both Savage and Hayes expressed unease with what they described as a form of “delight” taken by some of the Duggars’ critics.
“We have to remember, as we talk about this, that five little girls — at least five little girls — were abused and molested,” Savage said. “And there’s nothing here to take delight in or to celebrate.”
“I also have seen that tone creep in in some places, and found it pretty gross,” Hayes said in agreement.
Watch Hayes’ interview with Savage, as posted online on Friday, below.