TLC is "counting on’"without Derick Dillard.
The network announced it would no longer feature Jill (Duggar) Dillard's husband on Counting On after he posted a series of tweets about Jazz Jennings, a transgender teen with her own TLC reality show.
“I pity Jazz, [for] those who take advantage of him in order [to] promote their agenda, including the parents who allow these kinds of decisions [to] be made by a child,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s sad that [people] would use a juvenile this way. Again, nothing against him, just unfortunate what’s on tv these days.”
Dillard added that “it’s important to have a mature discussion,” and that he is facilitating that by expressing his concerns as a Christian. “The beauty of the world is that everybody is not like me,” he added.
I pity Jazz, 4 those who take advantage of him in order 2 promote their agenda, including the parents who allow these kinds of decisions 2 be made by a child. It’s sad that ppl would use a juvenile this way. Again, nothing against him, just unfortunate what’s on tv these days.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) November 9, 2017
In another, he referenced an earlier tweet of “reality vs. non-reality” regarding Jennings’ identification as a girl.
“I’m expressing my view of what should be treated as reality; if I say I feel like I am Nepali, that doesn’t make me so,” he said last week, despite TLC’s disapproval of him speaking out against Jennings.
After Dillard's tweetstorm, TLC issued a statement revealing that Dillard has not been employed by the network in months and that they have no plans on him ever returning to Counting On.
“We want to let our viewers know that Derick Dillard has not participated in Counting On for months and the network has no plans to feature him in the future,” the network said. “We want to reiterate that Derick’s personal statements do not reflect the views of the network. TLC is proud to share the story of Jazz Jennings and her family and will continue to do so.”
As always, Twitter had a variety of reactions to Dillard's comments and his subsequent firing by TLC.
Some approved of the network's decision, especially since he was speaking ill of another reality personality on TLC. The company had also warned him not to share opinions about Jennings after he posted a transphobic tweet about her in August.
Derick Dillard can keep his mouth shut about how he doesn't believe "transgender" is real. Why can't people mind their own business by this point? If it makes them happy, who are you to judge?— Katelyn W. (@katelynJW4) November 13, 2017
One user said TLC's removal of Dillard from the network will make her parenting easier; she doesn't allow her children to watch him on TV.
I don't let my children watch Derick Dillard on TV because I am afraid if they learn about him they will turn into homophobes with lazy eyes and big heads.— Linney ZeBra (@linzbrandenburg) November 12, 2017
TLC's I Am Jazz has followed Jennings through her transition to identifying as a girl. Jennings chooses to be referred to as "she," something that Dillard refuses to acknowledge.
"I never bullied anyone" - Derick Dillard.— Rachel Gascon (@RachelGascon) November 12, 2017
You called Jazz, a beautiful transgender girl, a "him" multiple times in your tweet and disregarded her parents. Your ignorance speaks volumes.
Meanwhile, some fans support Dillard's right to free speech. They claim that he was let go from the network for his stance on transgender issues, which is a violation of his First Amendment right.
This is not "transphobia" made up word. It's discrimination against Christians. These are two opposing world views. WE have to fight for our right to free speech without fear of loss of employment etc. #DerickDillard #JazzJennings #Christianity— Jimmy Johnson (@leakybubbles) November 13, 2017
Though Dillard is accused of bullying Jennings on social media, supporters say the network is bullying him via "religious discrimination."
#Istandwithderickdillard I support you and religious stance in the comments you made. Bullying for Religious discrimination is as wrong as any other type of bullying. #StopBullying #ReligiousFreedom #DerickDillard— Heather Byrd (@Byrdsnest97) November 12, 2017
Others used it as a platform to express their personal stance on social issues of transgender people, siding with Dillard.
this jazz person was born a boy and will always be a boy. I agree all the way with what Derek Dillard has stated. https://t.co/IUDp1qL6Z0— andrea fleury (@andrea159822) November 13, 2017
Through it all, many TLC followers are using the situation to make digs at the Duggar family, which has been featured on TLC in a variety of series since 2008.
Derick Dillard is the worst of the Duggar spouses— Moo 🐮 (@holleratfaller) November 12, 2017
The family was first featured in 19 Kids and Counting, a show that followed the Duggar family's children and highlighted their conservative Christian values and lifestyle. Under their interpretation of religion, "courting" couples are not allowed to hug straight-on, kiss or engage in any sexual activity until marriage.
Once married, wives are expected to have children quickly — most recently evidenced by Joy-Anna (Duggar) Forsyth's quick pregnancy after saying, "I do."
Some believe this positions the women more as property than partners.
Derek dillard saying Jazz is being controlled by her family is fucking hilarious if you ask me. You are just another link in the cult now. Sad how Jill is your property instead of your wife. Poor girl thinks shes happy about it too....— Keurig still has your money ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@kaitlynnvitale7) November 12, 2017
WTF cares what Derek Dillard says. He’s a nobody who married into a cult family built on lies and oppression. He wouldn’t know “taken advantage of” if it smacked him in the face and said “Hello I’m your wife!” https://t.co/ry9TXB81RH— (((Erin S.N.))) ✡️🌺👑🕎🦋♿️ (@ErinSummersN) November 11, 2017
Following in TLC's footsteps, some religious fans are distancing themselves from Dillard's interpretation of Christianity, which led him to publicly berate Jennings for her choice to live as a transgender.
I'll be clear on this, AGAIN... #DerickDillard doesn't represent Christianity or the Christianity I know or believe in. Anyone who wraps hatred, bigotry, hypocrisy, and ignorance in "The Loving Word of God" is NOT a Christian.— Fedora Chronicles (@fedorachronicle) November 13, 2017
Jennings also responded with a cryptic message after Dillard's rant. She didn't name him directly, but she offered up a message of positivity.
“In the face of constant ignorance and hatred I prefer to disregard negative opinions and continue moving forward with love,” she wrote, and fans pointed out her maturity compared to Dillard's.
Christ preached #love and #acceptance. Derek Dillard & those who share the same bigoted, anti Semitic & homophobic views as he does are not Christian. They could learn a lot from @JazzJennings__ she is one class act and a beautiful soul!! #judgemental #LGBTQ #PRIDE #Resist— Marcy Leavitt Psy.D (@LifeCoachMarcyL) November 12, 2017
Some are so disgusted by Dillard's actions, they are calling for TLC to remove the entire Duggar family from its network.
Counting On is currently in its sixth season on TLC, following a 10-season run of 19 Kids and Counting and Jill and Jessa: Counting On, a three-part spin-off series.