Another TLC show bites the dust after a public scandal.
Just as they did with Here Comes Honey Boo Boo after word got out that its star was dating a convicted child molester, TLC has announced that they have canceled 19 Kids and Counting after legal documents revealed thatJosh Duggar had sexually assaulted several underage girls — including sisters Jessa and Jill Duggar — 10 years ago.
“After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with 19 Kids and Counting,” the network said in a statement Thursday. “The show will no longer appear on the air. The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection.”
“Over these past weeks, TLC has consulted regularly with leading victims’ rights and advocacy organizations in the U.S., including RAINN and Darkness to Light, to discuss how to use this moment to address the issue and make a positive impact,” the statement continued. “Unfortunately, child sexual abuse is not an isolated issue; it affects many children and families around the world. To that end, we are partnering with both organizations on a multi-platform campaign to raise awareness and educate parents and families about the issue. In the first phase of this initiative, TLC will work closely with both groups and with the Duggar family on a one-hour documentary that will include Jill and Jessa and other survivors and families that have been affected by abuse.”
TLC added, “The documentary will be commercial free, and we anticipate it will air later this summer.”
The series’ cancellation comes just months after Josh admitted to molesting his sisters and an unnamed babysitter in his public apology. An Arkansas police report stated that Josh’s parents, Jim Boband Michelle Duggar brought their son to the Children’s Safety Center in 2006 after he was accused of sexually abusing girls during several incidents that occurred in 2002 and 2003.
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” Josh, 27, said in a statement. “I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”
Jim Bob and Michelle also defended their son during the scandal, saying, “He was just curious about girls and he had gone in and touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping.”
Jessa also sided with her brother and echoed her parent’s sentiments. “In Josh’s case, he was a boy, a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls,” she said. “And that got him into to some trouble. And he made some bad choices, but really the extent of it was mild, inappropriate touching, on fully clothed victims, most of it while girls were sleeping.”
In May, TLC pulled episodes of 19 Kids and Counting from its schedule after the backlash the family received for allegedly mishandling the molestation accusations.