Despite wanting to resurrect their family’s public image, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar turned down a post-scandal interview with People magazine because they could not get a guarantee that questions about son Josh would be off-limits, reports the New York Daily News.
People magazine — which has always had a loving relationship with the stars of 19 Kids and Counting — approached the Duggars for a cover story interview prior to revelations last week that son Josh admitted to having adulterous affairs after signing up on the Ashley Madison website site.
Josh Duggar had already gone into seclusion after it was revealed he had molested several his younger sisters when he was a teenager. Following those revelations — and despite a pair of softball rehabilitative interviews on Fox News — the TLC network canceled the family’s high-rated television show, costing them an estimated $25 million in income.
While the Duggars were initially receptive to an interview with People, negotiations bogged down when it came to talking about Josh.
“They did not want to discuss the scandal, only the future of the family. They wanted to avoid it altogether, which is completely ridiculous,” explained a source at People. “How can they do a cover story and not address the issue at hand?”
“People tried to negotiate and eventually played hardball, saying we’re doing the cover with or without you,” the source said.
People had already gone to press with an article entitled: “In Their Own Words: The Duggars Share Thoughts on Their Uncompromising Religious Lifestyle,” before the Ashley Madison adultery scandal broke which worked out well for the gossip magazine even without the interview.
“That may actually work in People’s favor, because if you see that on a newsstand you’ll assume it’s inside the magazine,” claimed the person inside People.
Notable in the People article was the absence of Josh Duggar and his wife and children in the accompanying photo.