Duggar Docuseries Producers Say Josh Is the 'Tip of the Iceberg' in Exposing Family's Sinister Church
The upcoming Amazon Prime Video docuseries, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, explores how the Duggar family's concerning ties to a radical religious organization negatively influenced them
The producers of the upcoming docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets are shedding light on how the scandals surrounding the Duggar family all connect back to their controversial Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) church.
The upcoming limited series, premiering on Prime Video in June, aims to embark on a deep exploration into the family's concerning ties to a radical religious organization. It ultimately exposes how IBLP has shaped — and negatively impacted — the once-beloved TLC reality family.
Olivia Crist, one of the program's executive producers, exclusively tells PEOPLE that "Josh Duggar is really the tip of the iceberg in this group."
"There are so many thousands of families that have been hurt by this and have not had a voice, not for lack of trying, for many, many, many years," she continues. "I mean, hope, the takeaway is really hearing the survivors, hearing what they've been through. And then, I think also for people still in, trapped in a fundamentalist or IBLP group, that hopefully this is a chance for them to say, 'Hey, it is possible to get out and that they're not alone.'"
Related:Duggar Family — and Their Religion — Exposed in Explosive Prime Video Docuseries Featuring Jill and Amy (Exclusive)
Josh, 35, was arrested by Homeland Security in April 2021 on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. Though he's denied all wrongdoing, he was found guilty on all charges that December. He was later sentenced on May 2022 to more than 12 years in prison. (He's currently trying to appeal his case.)
Before that, Josh previously confessed to molesting young girls — two of whom were his sisters Jill (Duggar) Dillard and Jessa (Duggar) Seewald — when he was between 12 and 15 years old. He also previously admitted to cheating on wife Anna Duggar.
Crist says Josh grew up "in a system that is inherently abusive and [has a] lack of sex education." This environment, she says, "breeds abuse."
"I think throughout the show, we see that in so many different areas," she explains. "And systems like this, that's, unfortunately, how they're set up with this authoritarian [notion of] 'men have all the control and women and children have to be submissive to that control' — I think that is just a recipe for absolute disaster."
Related:A History of the Ups & Downs of the Duggar Family
Crist says that the docuseries will "go into a lot of different types of abuses that happened within this cult."
"But one of the things I want to highlight is really the educational neglect that happened to a lot of these children is really astonishing. Their education was not sufficient," she concludes. "There are organizations out there — the Coalition for Responsible Homeschooling is one great one — that are doing really good work to advocate for the rights of children."
Executive producer Julia Willoughby Nason tells PEOPLE the documentarians "hope our series encourages people to find their voice and to speak out and be brave and take the risk and have a new type of faith."
"Even though we show a dark side of a shiny veneer, we hope that there's also light at the end of the tunnel in terms of having a place to land gracefully if people decide to step out and are still in any shape and form of abuse out there," she adds.
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Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets premieres June 2 on Prime Video.
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