Who Is Josh Ackley and What Is He Doing with the Girl Scouts?

Who Is Josh Ackley and What Is He Doing with the Girl Scouts?

If you are a national reporter writing on the Girl Scouts and you call their national office in New York City, you will talk to a guy named Josh Ackley.

If you are a Girl Scout wanting regular advice or information on the Girl Scouts and you turn to the Girl Scout blog, it’s Josh Ackley (pictured, center) you’ll be reading.

If you are a Girl Scout mom concerned about the sometimes-troubling drift of the Girl Scouts in recent years, Josh Ackley may be the one you’ll meet with.

To many key groups, Josh Ackley is the public face of one of the historically preeminent institutions for little girls. 

He has been with the Girl Scouts in external communications since 2008, became a prominent blogger for the organization in 2009, and since their public relations chief Michelle Tompkins recently left in a flood of headquarter staff exits, seems to be the Girl Scouts’ main and only spokesman.

So, who is Josh Ackley? The press, moms, and the girls may know Josh Ackley in his day job but probably don’t know what he does off-hours. He is the lead singer of a band called The Dead Betties. 

The Dead Betties were part of a movement called “homo-punk,” sometimes “homocore,” that Wikipedia describes as “an offshoot of punk… distinguished by its discontent with society in general, and specifically society’s disapproval of the gay, bi-sexual, lesbian and transgender communities.” The Dead Betties are profiled in the book Homocore: The Loud and Raucous Rise of Queer Rock.

Girl Scout moms and girls will know none of this. They will also not know that The Dead Betties put out a campy video that received MTV play in the mid-00s called “Hellevator,” where a sneering Ackley watches over a woman being stalked and then strangled on an elevator in an abandoned building.

A Dead Bettie video called “George’s Mr.s Right” (sic) shows a naked man–perhaps Ackley, though the subject’s faced is obscured–covered in newspapers, writhing on the ground, touching his genitals, feigning masturbation, intercut with brief footage of a scantily-clad woman. Later, the man is in the shower washing blood off his legs with dollar bills. We don’t see the woman again.

Josh Ackley joined the Girl Scouts in 2008 in the office of external communications in the Girl Scout headquarters in New York City. In that capacity, he speaks to the national media. Go to the Girl Scout media page and the only person you are directed to is Josh Ackley. Ackley is quoted in numerous national stories about the Girl Scouts.

A year after he started with the Girl Scouts, he became the primary blogger on the Girl Scout website. The blog is written specifically for the girls to get advice and keep up on Girl Scout news. 

And then there is Josh Ackley, sent out to quell the anger of concerned moms. Controversy erupted in 2011 over a girls-only panel hosted by the Girl Scouts at the UN Commission on the Status of Women where one mom claims to have found a stack of Planned Parenthood brochures in the room when the panel ended. The Girl Scouts have steadfastly denied knowing the brochures were there, but the ensuing controversy further fueled what has become a cottage industry of moms angry at what they see as the troublesome drift of the Girl Scouts. The controversy has also contributed to the declining fortunes of the Girl Scouts, who have lost substantial numbers of members and cookie sales in recent years.

When a group of St. Louis mothers, concerned about the UN panel, demanded a meeting, along with his now-departed boss Michelle Tompkins, it was Ackley who was sent by the Girl Scouts to quell the uprising.

Do the Girl Scouts know about Josh Ackley’s after-hours activities? If they don’t, they soon will. Disbanded years ago, Josh has gotten the band back together. The Betties have recorded most of a new album and have made their re-debut November 30 at New York City’s Cake Shop.


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