Josh Duggar and wife Anna appeared a few times on the Duggar family Facebook page this week as they start to rebuild their media presence.
As you can see above, the family made a pilgrimage to Ark Encounter, a Christian fundamentalist theme park in Grant County, Kentucky.
If it wasn’t obvious, it features a Noah’s Ark replica.
“Visiting the Ark Encounter is a great time the whole family can appreciate,” the Duggar family wrote on their official Facebook page.
“Our family looked at the life of Noah and saw how the righteousness and obedience of one man’s life spared all of humanity.”
They encouraged their fans to support the Ark’s website, and implicitly to support Josh, 29, as he begins this new phase of life.
The inclusion of Josh Duggar in the above photo may not be an endorsement of his righteousness or obedience, but it speaks volumes.
With Josh and Anna expecting their fifth child, the family is working the local pariah back into the fold gradually but very much deliberately.
Josh’s sordid past aside, by and large, fans of Counting On have been very supportive of the inclusion of Josh and Anna in family life.
One follower wrote, “Nice to see josh included in the picture. Beautiful picture. Thanks for sharing,” while another Duggar fan commented:
“It is nice to see Josh in the family photos again. We went to see the ark three weeks ago I hate we missed you we would love to meet you.”
Yet another supporter remarked, “Love seeing the ENTIRE family together. So good to see Josh and Anna again … I love this family!”
He remains a polarizing figure, but with such loving support from their core fans, the Duggars may no longer feel the need to hide Josh.
At least not as obviously as they have in the past …
TLC has used sun glare, re-shoots, creative editing and even small children as human shields to protect viewers from the human eyesore.
Now that he’s having baby #5 though, social media sightings may increase and writers may give Anna Duggar a bigger role on Counting On.
Josh’s molestation scandal and infidelity were the reason his family’s popular reality TV show 19 Kids and Counting was axed in 2015.
Two years later, however, the reborn Counting On is chugging along, Anna somehow didn’t divorce him, and all seems right in Arkansas.
Well, mostly. Jill and Jessa were radio silent on social media after his pregnancy announcement, which is highly unusual for the duo.
But if the silence is deafening, this also says a lot:
Michelle Duggar shared this baby picture of Josh, Jana Duggar and John-David Duggar – the inaugural trio of her 19 kids – from 1994.
Josh was an innocent little boy once! Who knew!
The quiet PR blitz is underway after Josh and Anna Duggar wrote on the family blog earlier this month that their fifth child is en route:
“For nearly the last two years, we have quietly worked to save our marriage, focus on our children, and rebuild our lives together as a family.”
“Doing so is never easy after a breach of trust. We’ve learned that a life of faith and rebuilding a life together is simply done one day at a time.”
“As we continue our journey as a family and rebuild our lives, we are delighted to share with you that we are expecting a new baby boy later this year.”
“Beauty comes from ashes and we cannot wait to see and kiss the face of this sweet new boy!” Josh and Anna wrote in their announcement.
Of course, he’s not entirely out of the woods yet.
Josh is being sued by a photographer whose photo he used as his profile pic on Ashley Madison, the adultery-driven website he used.
Matthew McCarthy claims that Josh’s wrongful, “extreme and outrageous” use of his image subjected him to lost work and epic harassment.
While it’s dubious that the photographer/DJ is seeking damages, claiming he can’t get work because Josh did this, it still hangs over his head.
Doesn’t seem like the family is too worried, in any case, based on how Josh is being treated in their carefully-crafted postings lately.
Will fans ever truly accept him again, though?