Shortly after news of the Josh Duggar sex scandals went public, it looked as though the disgraced 29-year-old would no longer be welcome at gatherings hosted by his famous family.
After all, Duggar weddings and birthdays serve two purposes–they’re occasions for celebration, of course, but they’re also much-needed ratings bootsters for the family’s reality series.
And if Josh is on hand, costly precautions need to be taken to ensure that he doesn’t wind up on screen.
We witnessed the lengths the Duggars are willing to go to when Josh was edited out of sister Jinger’s wedding special.
The production team behind Counting On was so desperate to prevent Josh from popping up in crucial scenes that they employed CGI pillars and artificial lens flares to block his face from view.
To the surprise of many fans, however, Josh has appeared in several Duggar social media posts in recent months.
It seemed to be the family’s way of testing the waters and finding out if fans were ready to forgive the known sexual predator.
As just anyone could’ve predicted, they were not.
Many were outraged by the sight of Josh smiling alongside some of his past victims on Facebook and YouTube.
Jim Bob and Michelle now seem to realize that posting images and video of their eldest son was a gross miscalculation, as to many fans, he’ll never be anything more than “Josh Duggar the molester.”
It may have taken them several failed attempts to realize that Josh’s public image is beyond rehabilitation, but it looks as though the message has finally been received.
The Duggars celebrated two birthdays in the past week, as Josh’s sister Johannah turned 12, and his daughter Mackynzie turned 8.
The family assembled to celebrate both big days at once, and as many fans have pointed out, Josh was nowhere to be seen:
“We had a lovely lunch celebrating our two upcoming birthday girls, Johannah and Mackynzie!!” Michelle Duggar captioned the photo.
In fairness, it looks like the lunch was a ladies-only affair, but it’s one of many photos from the past week’s celebration, and Josh isn’t present in any of them.
Anna Duggar posted a photo collage tribute to Mackynzie on Twitter and Josh did appear in one of the images.
But tellingly, the pic was clearly not taken at the girl’s birthday party.
In fact, the absence of Josh and Anna’s youngest son, Mason, has led many fans to the conclusion that the photo was taken several months ago.
So have the Duggars finally decided to stop inviting Josh to family get-togethers?
If so, we’re sure Counting On producers are thrilled by the decision.
The absence of Josh is sure to save them thousands on their editing budget.
Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.