Joy-Anna Duggar came under fire when her in-laws announced they are hosting a couple known for preaching physical discipline at their Fort Rock Family Camp and Retreat Center. After her parents Jim Bob and Michelle promoted the controversial appearance, the man behind the scandal, Michael Pearl, defended himself exclusively to RadarOnline.com.
Austin Forsyth's parents, who own the camp, promoted the speaking engagement on their website. Michael and Debi Pearl are scheduled to speak from June 7-10 and from October 4-7.
In 2011, The New York Times reported that the Pearls' book To Train Up a Child encourages parents to use a switch on children as young as six months old to discourage bad behavior. The book also suggests parents use a quarter-inch flexible plumbing line, among other instruments, to hit children on the arms, legs and back.
The book was found in the homes of three children who died from child abuse.
Jim Bob and Michelle supported the controversial couple when they posted a link to the Pearls' appearance at the camp on their official Facebook page.
"This makes me so sad," one user wrote on the post. "The Pearls literally promote hitting babies, actual babies. They are child abusers. Why you would promote their evil and cruel practices is mind boggling."
A second fired, "Why are you promoting child abuse? I hope every single one of you participating in the Pearls' abusive ways are arrested and spend significant time in prison. Those poor Duggar children."
But author Michael defended the backlash exclusively to RadarOnline.com.
"The book has sold well over 1 million copies," he defended to Radar. "A lot of families are being blessed by the content. They say it's the best thing that ever happened to their family, including grown people who were raised with the principles in that book. Those adults are now training their children."
He continued, "I teach not to punish your children. It's a whole comprehensive approach to child training. Physical discipline is a small part of it."
When asked about the Duggar family helping to promote the book, he responded, "I don't know the Duggars. I met Jim Bob once."
What do you think of the Duggar family promoting the book? Tell us in the comments.
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