When I first discovered the Jon and Kate controversy in July, one of the first things that pulled me in was the accusation of Jon and Kate being ‘con artists.’ I saw numerous internet reports that stated, as a fact, that Jon and Kate collect astronomical speaking fees (to the tune of 25k) and, when not collecting fees of this caliber, they are preying on churchgoers who are still naively thinking that the Gosselns are struggling. The belief is that Jon and Kate create an illusion of financial hardship in order to lure people into donating to them. This ‘belief’ is added to an arsenal of accusations against the family, which further inspires the nay-sayers to pick up weapons and attack the family, guns blazing, in order to save the weak and feeble minded (or, to put it another way, anyone that isn’t one of them).
Being raised in a particular faith background, to say that this alarmed me would have been an understatement. If this were true, my perception of this family would surely change. I had to find out the truth. So, I found a schedule of speaking engagements and I registered to attend one that was within a reasonable driving distance.
I’ll admit to feeling nervous going into it. But, after experiencing one of these events first hand, I discovered that the ‘truth’ was so far from what is purported on the internet. In the rest of this post, I will outline what was spoken about and address some of the ‘untruths’ purported by the “Anti’s” as well as some interesting things that were discussed.
Untruth #1 Jon and Kate are at these events still claiming financial hardship
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Jon and Kate openly acknowledged how blessed they were. They noted that the first year with the tups, in particular, was very difficult. It was strenuous on their marriage, difficult for the twins and overall stressful. The second year for them was also difficult but seemed brighter. Again, there was an emphasis on being blessed and trusting God in hard times.
Untruth #2 People are pressured into giving love offerings to the family, again because of their financial situation.
At no point was it ever said that the Gosselins need a love offering for financial reasons. In fact, the pastor was pretty clear that the love offering was meant to “show appreciation” for the family’s willingness to come and speak. In other words, the love offering is the speaker’s fee.
At the event I attended, there were several hundred people there. When it was love offering time, I looked all around me to see who was giving. A good chunk of people just passed the bucket down the row. And, though it’s not polite to look at what others are giving, my curiosity got the best of me. I didn’t see large sums of money being thrown in. There is no mathematical way that the family pulled in even 10k. I’d be shocked if they made 5k. My best guess is 2k and even that could be high. This imaginary mad rush to shower the family with money is, well, imaginary.
***The stated definition that the church gave for the love offerings is in line with purpose of love offerings. They are, in fact, meant to be payment for speakers. Nothing more. For more info go to http://www.kncsb.org/legal/Love_Offerings.pdf,
Untruth #3 They sell pictures that they claim are going to the sextuplets college fund. They are also still stating at these events that the kids have no such funds.
The kernel of truth in this is that they do sell pictures for $20. I certainly didn’t pay for one, as I believe that 20 dollars for 1 photo of even my loved ones is a bit much. I’m not going to spend that for a picture of children I’ve never met.
The ‘untruth’ is that it is presented that the family claims that money from the photos goes to the kid’s college funds. There was not a single, solitary mention of college funds (and they certainly weren’t asking for donations to it).
And though there was a huge line afterwards to meet and greet J &K, many people just walked up, said hi and left. There were some that bought the pictures but the majority did not.
Now for some interesting things that were discussed:
- When asked what the hardest part of being on TV was , they alluded to ‘ugliness’ (hmmm) and also the violation of their privacy. They mentioned people driving by their homes, getting out of the car and stepping onto their lawns. They talked about the risks to the safety and well-being of their family. There was a strong security presence provided by the church at this event and the Gosselins clearly had their own security as well. I wonder why? (haha).
****As an aside, I know a person who is higher up in the ministry of this church. She mentioned that the pastor had received numerous threatening emails from various ‘individuals.’ There was a huge concern and I’m sure it wasn’t just for the Gosselins.
- They talked about their show being their job . They mentioned that they were fortunate enough to be able to stay home with their kids. And contrary to the belief that Jon is a lazy slob, he clearly struggles with staying home. Kate mentioned having a few projects in the works and Jon referred to himself as the “Manny (Man Nanny)” Kate said she has to remind him every day that “this is a blessing” but he mentioned becoming really frustrated with it. He does want to work. (I can see this getting twisted as I write it… “that shrew, she cut his male parts off and has stripped him of his pride”. Or…how about this…he loves her and he loves his kids so he’s making sacrifices)
- When asked about filming, they answered that the cameras are there 3-4 days per week but contrary to popular belief, they are not filming 24/7. A filming day could be 4 hours or 10. The kids are not involved in every bit of the filming. There are whole filming days of interviews with the parents. I know that there are still unanswered questions about filming but it goes to show that there are things not necessarily being presented by the other side.
- There was a point in the interview when Kate and Jon were talking about their first year with the tups and the tension in their marriage at the time. Kate admitted to taking things out on Jon that she shouldn’t have at the time and mentioned volunteers. Overall, however, they feel that this time in their lives made them stronger. Kate mentioned being anxious (not her words) about Jon leaving but he told her then he never would. Then, as they were discussing this (and it was really sweet, not Jon’s usual sarcastic tone) he looked into her face and said “I’ll never leave you.” I know, damage control, right? He’s really planning to move to Mexico with Jenny. *rolls eyes*
There are many other things I could write but I’ll refrain in the interest of saving space. Overall, Jon and Kate were Jon and Kate. They openly admitted on more than one occasion that they are *gasp* human and imperfect. It’s a shame that others have taken their humanity away from them, and feel that because they are public figures it’s ok to treat them any way they please.