She was long a Duggar family fan-favorite, but over the past year, Jill Duggar has definitely been on the receiving edge of a fair bit of public criticism. Though interest in Jill's life as a newlywed and mom ultimately helped launch TLC's 19 Kids and Counting spin-off, Counting On, in 2015, the network announced in Nov. 2017 that Jill's husband, Derick Dillard, would no longer be involved in filming after he made anti-transgender comments on Twitter. Now, Jill Duggar has been accused of plagiarizing recipes on her website, according to Inquisitr, and, while it may not be as egregious an offence as Dillard's tweets, her fans are arguing she should have absolutely known better than to make that mistake.
Jill hasn't publicly confirmed that she's no longer involved with her family's reality show, but in a March 21 tweet, Dillard wrote that he and Jill "decided to stop doing filming" because they "were going in a different direction as a family." Since then, the married parents-of-two seem to have also decided to step up their social media and overall web presence — Jill recently shared in an Instagram post that they'd revamped their official website, The Dillard Family — and without any ongoing ties to Counting On, it seems they now intend to use the site to remain connected with fans. But it didn't take long for Jill's followers to notice that a number of the recipes on her new recipe page actually appeared to be copied from other online sources without any attribution, and that, in some cases, the photos were also lifted without any credit. A rep for the couple did not immediately return Romper's request for comment.
In a recent Instagram Live video, Jill explained that she intended to begin posting recipes to her page on the regular, and that she'd spent some time digging through her mom, Michelle Duggar's, recipe box to find her favorites. That was likely pretty exciting news for Duggar fans, and on Saturday, Jill posted a link to her Instagram account, letting her followers know she'd posted a new recipe for stuffed zucchini to her website.
In the post, Jill wrote that the zucchini recipe was "one of [her] hubby’s favorites," and that after the couple first got married, she began trying different recipes, and then "adapted them into [her] own." In this case though, the original recipe that Jill adapted came from AllRecipes.com, according to Inquisitr, including the photo she included. It does appear that Jill has since gone back to include a note attributing the photo and recipe to the original source, but many fans were seriously unimpressed, and felt she'd been trying to pass the recipe and photo off as her own.
While some of Jill's followers came to her defence on Instagram (one wrote, "How does one plagiarize a recipe that's been around for generations? Just curious"), others weren't having any of it. One user noted that, while there may not be an infinite number of unique ways to make stuffed zucchini, online recipes like the one Jill used are "available to be linked. Not stolen or plagiarized," and that means that she should have made it clear that the recipe and photo didn't belong to her. Another user noted that the zucchini recipe didn't actually seem to be the first time she had failed to acknowledge her sources:
It seems most all of her photos & possibly recipes have been lifted from other sources. I think she may have a lot more work to do than just to fix one post. If I were her, I would shut down the website entirely until it was cleaned up & the original writers & photographers w/notified w/an apology.
That user appears to be right: according to Inquisitr, Jill originally failed to clarify that her recipe (and photo) for Slow Chicken Mole was, in fact, taken from Chowhound, while her recipe for Riguas was also a straight up copy-and-paste from the site Salvadorian Recipes.
Some of Jill's followers did argue that grilling Jill for the error wasn't necessarily fair — perhaps she just didn't realize that using photos that don't belong to you without credit or permission is a big no-no. Except that, well, she has a warning on her website that prohibits people from using her photos without permission. On a page in which the couple shared photographs from their recent mission trip to Mexico, for example, they wrote:
The photos above are considered the property of the Dillard Family and may only be used with their written permission. Please request permission to use the photos.
Unsurprisingly, that didn't sit well with some of her followers. One wrote,
Jill you actually have on your website that all photos etc are your property. They are not. The photo and recipe belong to another website that states it is their property. You can not use a photo without credit and then actually say it is your property.
While another argued,
Her website makes it very clear that pictures of her and her family are her property and nobody can use them without written permission or whatever. So she knows that taking other people’s pictures and content is wrong.
At the very least, it does look like Jill has gone back through her website and added notes about where her recipes came from, as well as where the photos originated if she didn't take them herself. To some though, the plagiarism controversy was just the latest in a string of questionable decisions Jill and Derick have made on social media: Jill recently received backlash, for example, for encouraging her 1.6 million Instagram followers to vote for her son, Israel, in an online contest with a $350 grand prize, and the couple also came under fire for once asking fans to contribute to a GoFundMe account to support their missionary work.
Though the criticism aimed at Jill for her plagiarized recipes seemed totally warranted, hopefully it's meant that she's realized the importance of giving credit where credit is due — especially if you're a public figure who presumably has the capacity to earn a living from your website. And although not everyone agrees that Jill deserves the benefit of the doubt for her error, it seems safe to say that she'll definitely be expected to follow the rules going forward.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.