Vuolo posted an odd picture of himself holding his daughter, Felicity, in front of a reflective window. Outside is a Native American teepee -- a structure that many felt had little to do with Vuolo's Baptist lifestyle. On top of that, his caption struck many people the wrong way.
"Time for reflection," he wrote.
This is an ambiguous caption, but many people's interpretation of it left a bad taste in their mouths. Vuolo's reflection is visible in the glass, but the tent could be symbolic of a Native American rite or ritual for reflection and introspection. Fans pointed out that Vuolo should not experiment with these elements of another culture so cavalierly.
“What is this supposed to mean?” one fan commented. “If there is a deeper meaning behind this post please do share. If not please know that taking elements of another culture (especially one that has been as mistreated as Native Americans) and using them flippantly for your own artistic design is completely inappropriate.”
Others speculated that Vuolo's picture was referencing Native American Heritage Month. However, they felt that if this was the case he should have made it more clear so as not to look like he was using the teepee to boost his Instagram clout.
“I googled it, guys, and some places are saying November is Native American month.” someone wrote. “Perhaps as ‘Thanksgiving’ comes it’s a moment to reflect on the atrocities inflicted on the first nations people.”
Vuolo's defenders suggested that he might have underestimated the outrage over his post, but many snapped back that this is not an excuse.
“It’s fairly regularly accepted that cultural appropriation is insensitive,” one user commented. “Benefitting from someone else’s culture, not OK.”
“Why teepee? Are you racist too?” another added more bluntly.0comments
Many optimistic fans wondered whether Vuolo might have some Native American ancestry that they had never heard about before.
Vuolo is married to the Duggar family's Jinger, and continues to appear on their reality show Counting On. He currently works as a pastor, and previously played soccer in the North American Soccer League and Major League Soccer. Like the rest of the Duggar family and their spouses, he sometimes comes under fire for his insular lifestyle and fundamentalist beliefs.