Jill Dillard Weighs in on the Simone Biles Controversy Amid a Third Family Scandal

Four years ago, Jill Dillard stepped away from her family’s reality TV show, Counting On. In recent years, she’s made a big break from the Duggar family. Now, she is showing support for Simone Biles, the United States gymnast who stirred controversy after withdrawing from an Olympic competition. Duggar family followers note that Dillard’s thoughts prove she’s doing some serious work to grow and heal from her troubled childhood. 

Simone Biles stirred up controversy when she withdrew from Team USA during the Gymanstics team final 

In a surprise move, Biles withdrew from the gymnastics team competition after her first vault. Initially, viewers assumed Biles had physically hurt herself after balking on a complicated vault. She later revealed that she withdrew for her mental health after dealing with “the twisties,” a psychological phenomenon where a gymnast loses their air sense. Air sense, or aerial awareness, is what allows gymnasts and other athletes to sense where they are in the air. It is what enables them to land complicated flips and twists without injuring themselves. 

Simone Biles of Team USA springs onto the vault during the Women's qualification round at the Tokyo Olympics
Simone Biles | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

RELATED: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Can Sympathize With Simone Biles and Admits to Fears of His Own Heading Into Upcoming Xfinity Series Race at Richmond: ‘I’m Scared’

The decision has been divisive. While many have come out in support of Biles, there are people, including celebrities and TV personalities, that have condemned her for “letting her team down.” Critics have called her “weak” and “soft” for taking a step back to address her mental health. According to ABC News, retired gymnasts see Biles’ decision as proof that there is progress in the sport. Something that has been much needed for decades. Several former Team USA gymnasts note they were never given the option to make such decisions. They have largely applauded her withdrawal from the competition. 

Jill Dillard liked a comment that defended Biles’ decision 

While critics harp on Biles, claiming she didn’t have the grit and determination to push through, the voices of support are coming through loud and clear. Dillard is one of the people who seem to support Biles. At the very least, she understands how childhood trauma can impact someone’s ability to perform under immense pressure. 

Jill Duggar Dillard (L) of the Duggar family and husband Derick Dillard visit 'Extra' at their New York studios
Jill Duggar Dillard (L) and husband Derick Dillard visit ‘Extra’ at their New York studios | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

In an Instagram post criticizing Biles, one commenter noted that they would only hear criticism from victims of sexual abuse who have also won six gold medals. The commenter essentially stated that the only one who can speak on Biles’ decision is Biles herself. Jill found her way into the comment thread, posting a quick “Amen” followed by a heart emoji. The comment was small, but Duggar family followers think it means big things.

Reddit user wondered if Jill can see parallels between Biles’ experience and her own. Biles was a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of the gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar.  Josh Duggar, abused Dillard and several of her sisters when they were children. Family followers also note that while Dillard never competed at a high level athletically, her family did expect her to perform on their reality TV shows, regardless of the trauma endured. If Dillard does see the parallels, followers are taking it as proof that she’s growing and healing. She is the only Duggar who has publicly acknowledged working with a licensed counselor

Duggar family followers are waiting for Jill Dillard to say more about her brother’s upcoming trial 

In recent months, Dillard has been opening up about her feelings about many topics. Her Instagram feed and blog posts also indicate that she has more freedom to speak. Dillard has shared what she likes and dislikes and how she’s coping. That increased freedom to speak has some fans wondering if she’ll soon discuss her older brother’s upcoming trial, too. 

Josh Duggar's mugshot taken in April 2021
Josh Duggar’s photo after his arrest | Washington County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

RELATED: Duggar Family News: Rumors Swirl About Anna Duggar’s Feelings, but What Has She Said About Her Husband’s Arrest

Federal agents arrested Duggar, 33, in April 2021 on two child pornography charges. In a bond hearing in May 2021, agents outlined how Duggar allegedly partitioned his computer. According to court transcripts, images of child sexual abuse were then downloaded to a computer located at the family’s car lot. A judge has set his trial date for November 2021. Dillard and several of Duggar’s siblings have made general statements about the situation. None have spoken about it in-depth yet. Family followers think that could all change. 

How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.