Sarah Palin, the outspoken former GOP vice presidential nominee and Alaska governor, is lashing out at what she considers hypocritical media figures covering the Duggar family controversy.
On Wednesday, In Touch magazine reported that Josh Duggar, the eldest son of the religiously conservative "19 Kids & Counting" reality TV show stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, inappropriately touched five underage girls, including four of his own siblings, when he was a teenager. In Touch's information came via a police report they obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Duggars have been criticized for their past handling of the allegations against their son, and their show has been put on indefinite suspension by its network, TLC.
While few Republican allies of the Duggars have been willing to weigh in on the scandal, Palin spoke out on Thursday, name-checking the popular yet polarizing "Girls" star Lena Dunham in the process. “I’m not defending the Duggar boy’s obvious wrongdoing over a decade ago,” Palin wrote on Facebook. “The main victim in any story like this isn’t the perpetrator, it’s the innocent ones so harmfully affected. I’m not an apologist for any sexual predator, but I’m sickened that the media gives their chosen ones a pass for any behavior as long as they share their leftwing politics.”
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In her post, Palin initially calls out Dunham, who wrote about some sexual behavior directed at her younger sister in her best-selling 2014 memoir "Not That Kind of Girl" that took place when Dunham was 7 years old. The actress asserts she had once tried to bribe her sister to kiss her, took a peak at her sibling's genitalia and on another occasion masturbated next to her. Although, her admissions were considered controversial by some at the time, few thought to publicly conflate them with the acts of an alleged abuser.
Enter Palin. "They suggest Lena Dunham’s sexual assault on her sibling is cute, and she’s rewarded for it with fame and fortune. Meanwhile, they crucify another, along with an entire family,” she wrote in the Facebook post. In fact, her entire post starts with a broadside directed at Dunham in which Palin calls her a "pedophile" and asks, "Hey Lena, why not laugh off everyone's sexual 'experiments' as you haughtily enjoy rewards of your own perversion?"
Palin also railed against what she calls the "unethical leak of a private, legally protected counseling document by a politically motivated law enforcement official" and the "media's hell-bent mission to go after the entire Duggar family for one member’s wrongdoing."
The ex-Alaska governor's post followed one by her daughter Bristol, who slammed Dunham and the media's coverage of the Duggars on Thursday. "I can’t believe how crazy the media is going over the Duggar family compared to the big fat yawn they gave Lena Dunham when she wrote in her book that she sexually experimented with her sister,” Bristol Palin wrote. “The double standards make me sick.”
For her part, Dunham has dismissed her past actions as “a story about being a weird 7-year-old," and she hasn't, at least publicly, weighed in the on the controversy swirling around the Duggars. NBC reached out to her publicist for comment on the Palin post but they declined to make a statement.
Late last year, developmental psychologist Ritch Savin-Williams, director of the Sex and Gender Lab at Cornell University, told Slate that Dunham's behavior was "clearly not a case of abuse," and added, “Children have been doing this stuff forever and ever and ever and ever, and they will do it forever and ever and ever.”