Josh Harris first made the rounds across media outlets upon being featured in Discovery Channel’s legendary documentary series about Alaskan crab fishing entitled “Deadliest Catch.” His original debut is often forgotten about, but it actually took place in 2007, when he wasn’t credited for a “Behind the Scenes” reel of the series.

Harris’ first credited “Deadliest Catch” appearance took place in 2009, at which point he was seen as a deckhand on the famous fishing vessel F/V Cornelia Marie, working under his renowned captain and father Phil Harris, who passed away on 9 February 2010.

With a great legacy to live by and a fearsome fishing vessel to boot, Josh took no time in becoming one of the fans’ favorites, with most of the show’s viewers rooting for the hard-working heir. Harris rode this wave of fame for a number of years, amassing significant wealth and substantial respect from the community.

That said, regardless of just how popular and revered someone may have become, there are certain things deemed unforgivable in every part of the world. Perhaps blinded by all the fame and fortune, Josh forgot to bury one of the worst skeletons anyone could possibly have in their closet, which resulted in an unavoidably abrupt end to his career.

Who really is Josh Harris?

Joshua Harris was born into a family deeply rooted in the fishing industry, on 18 March 1983. He has a younger brother, Jake Harris, who also appeared in the show. The two were thick as thieves from the get-go, learning the ropes together and helping each other through their father’s lessons.

Josh’s early life was heavily influenced by his father Phil’s profession, as he and Jake were raised in an environment in which fishing wasn’t just a job, but a way of life. The boys were introduced to the craft as early as they could walk, and thus spent a great deal of time on the family’s vessel.

As for education, it seems that Josh’s was largely informal. He looks to have learned everything he needed later on through hands-on experience on the boat and under the tutelage of his father. This early exposure to the business played a crucial role in shaping Josh’s career path, affording him a massive edge over the intense competition.

Josh’s parents Phil and Mary Harris had a tumultuous relationship that would later prove to have negatively impacted his childhood. They first met when Mary was an exotic dancer in an unhappy marriage, which not many would characterize as ideal conditions for a true love story.

Mary left her husband for Phil after a passionate affair, and they wedded after dating for just over five years. Their marriage was characterized by periods of sobriety and faithfulness, interspersed with instances of infidelity. After nine years of union and a total of 14 together, they divorced in a manner infrequently referred to as amicable.

Phil fought for and won sole custody of Josh and Jake following the separation, which was a surprising turn of events considering the fisherman’s reputation for fast and hard living. He was known for an undying love of gambling, an indulgence in cocaine, and drinking binges. That notwithstanding, he was still somehow able to provide a stable environment for his sons, who apparently happily and willingly remained with him after the divorce.

Josh’s relationship with his mother was also complicated. Their relationship further suffered after Mary lost custody of both boys, creating an even bigger rift. However, Phil ultimately asked his ex-wife to re-marry him, prior to passing away in 2010. She declined though, stating that he was a better friend to her than a husband. Despite the ups and downs, they were ultimately able to mend their relationship for the sake of their sons.

The tumbling waves

Harris found himself in the eye of a media storm that, unlike the ones he’s used to, he will never be able to weather. Shocking news were first revealed in a very honest and brutal fashion by the website, which told a harrowing story that not one “Deadliest Catch” fan would’ve assumed possible even in their wildest dreams.

The year was 1998 when Harris, merely 15 years old at the time, was accused of a blood-curdling act – the sexual assault of a four-year-old girl. The victim, in her innocence, confided in her mother about the traumatic incident, who then took the courageous step of reporting it to the police. The details of the assault are deeply unsettling, and that’s definitely what paints the worst possible picture of the up-until-recently famous “Deadliest Catch” captain.

The child was so young and unaware of what had actually happened that she exhibited little stress while addressing the events, that she spoke of their genitals as ‘pee-pees,’ and identified that the assailant had a member ‘like a banana.’ It was unthinkable to both the officers at the scene and the local community that anyone could’ve committed something so reprehensible.

In spite of what many would’ve expected at the time, the wheels of justice turned rather slowly. A protracted investigation ensued, with delays in DNA processing causing a significant gap between the alleged assault and Harris’s arrest.

Regardless of the legal impairments, the long arm of the law eventually reached its target. The DNA evidence collected from the scene of the crime was conclusively matched to Harris, proving that his semen was present in the little girl’s bedroom.

This revelation led to his immediate arrest almost a year later. Harris was initially quiet for a period of time, perhaps out of shock or sheer inexperience. He did, however, attest to the crime in a chilling confession, stating that he had touched the victim in an offensive manner for his own sexual gratification, and had spoken to her about matters of coitus.

While there was indeed a fully incriminating confession by the culprit, the court was unable to pursue the case to its fullest extent, most likely because Josh was still a minor at the time. He instead pleaded guilty to lesser charges, which were amended to one count of fourth degree assault and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

His sentence was extremely disappointing to the community and the victim’s family, to say the least – a mere 30 days of confinement for each charge, 150 hours of community service, and a 24-month sex offender program. His supervision during this period was approved to be under the care of his grandfather.

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Fast forward to the present day, and the ghost of Harris’s past actions has come back to haunt him. After the case was unearthed and circulated online, Discovery confirmed that they had severed all ties with Harris. A representative from Discovery stated that they’d learned of what had transpired more than two decades earlier, and that Josh’s TV career is effectively over, as the network had cut all ties with him.

The time he should’ve served

The crime Harris committed happened in his birthplace, Seattle, Washington State USA. In spite of what some may believe due to that particular case, this state has stringent laws concerning the molestation of minors, classified into three degrees, primarily based on the age of the victim. The law also mandates that the accused must be at least three years older than the victim for first and second-degree molestation, and at least four years older for third-degree molestation.

First-degree child molestation occurs when a person has sexual contact with another who is less than twelve years old and not married to the perpetrator. Second-degree child molestation occurs when an individual has sexual contact with another who is at least twelve years old but less than fourteen years old and not married to the perpetrator. The final classification, third-degree child molestation, happens when the person has sexual contact with another who is at least fourteen years old but less than sixteen years old and not married to the perpetrator.

The penalties for this crime are normally severe and tend to have far-reaching impacts. If convicted, the defendant will face a felony-level, criminal charge, of which there are three levels. A Class A felony can lead to life imprisonment or a fine of $50,000, or both, and includes a lifetime registration ionto the sex offenders list.

A Class B felony may result in up to ten years of time served in state prison or a fine of $20,000, or both, and includes being a registered sex offender for 15 years. A Class C Felony leads to up to five years in state prison or a fine of $10,000, or both, and comes with a 10-year sex offender registration requirement.

Harris’ case would’ve been classified as first-degree child molestation, as the victim was less than twelve years old, a Class A Felony, which means that Harris could have faced up to life imprisonment, a fine of $50,000, or both. He would also be required to register as a sex offender for life.

What ultimately ended Josh’s career is the fact that this record is publicly accessible, and can affect personal and professional prospects in the future. It can damage relationships, job opportunities, and the individual’s reputation in the community. Harris’ life in the limelight was effectively ended by the article.

The fallout

The dismissal of Harris from “Deadliest Catch” marks a dramatic turn of events for the series, in which Harris had been a key player, and his absence will undoubtedly leave a void in the narrative.

That said, Discovery’s decision by all means had to underscore the gravity of the allegations against him and the importance of holding individuals accountable for their actions, regardless of their public status. The fans wouldn’t have had it otherwise, and the network would’ve faced unbearable backlash for being any less strict.

An entire spin-off had to be canceled on top of that, which was arguably one of the highest-rated installments of the title – “Deadliest Catch: Bloodline.” It was essentially focused on only two cast members of the original series – Casey McManus and Josh Harris, who followed the legacies of their ancestors (i.e. their bloodline) by fishing around the Kona Coast of Hawaii.

The series began in 2020, following Harris and McManus as they swapped the icy waters of the Arctic for the tropical seas of Big Island. Their mission was to hunt for valuable ahi tuna using the late Phil Harris’s old fishing charts, discovered by Josh while renovating the Cornelia Marie, and was intrigued by the markings on the charts that Phil had once fished there.

As a result of the fiasco, the series was also removed from the network’s streaming platform, Discovery+, and is no longer available on other streaming platforms such as Prime Video. Even mentions of the show have been removed from the Discovery Channel’s website, as though it never even existed.

What will happen to him now?

Aside from the very obvious fact that no television network with an ounce of integrity and self-respect will ever choose to work with Harris, some of the fans have been wondering whether the infamous fisherman could jump-start a career elsewhere. This seems very unlikely, and a single glance at his social media points to the fact that he’s probably performing some odd job to make a living far away from any camera lens.

Josh’s most recent Instagram post was a picture of his father on 11 February 2023, in which he expressed great sorrow at the lack of his late father’s presence, which probably would’ve helped deal with the intense pressure of losing everything he had worked for in the blink of an eye.

He also alluded to the fact that neither of them will get to push to the end of “Deadliest Catch,” stating that there’s one more adventure that they never got to finish. Some fans have speculated that the greatest tragedy for Josh is staining the beautiful legacy of his well-respected father, who was at one point the face of the industry.

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As a Freelance Writer at Biography Pedia, I manage every aspect of our content creation, from rigorous research to narrative excellence, ensuring precision and integrity in our work. Our comprehensive editorial management includes deep investigation, narrative development, and maintaining high standards of quality.

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