TLC has pulled 19 Kids and Counting from its schedule in the wake of accusations that star Josh Duggar molested several underage girls as a teenager.
“Effective immediately, TLC has pulled all episodes of 19 Kids and Counting currently from the air. We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time,” the network said in a statement late Friday.
TLC had refused to comment on the incident Thursday, but the network sparked outrage later that evening when it ran a 19 Kids and Counting marathon. As of early Friday, the show had been scheduled to air on the morning of May 27, but it has since been taken off the schedule.
News of Duggar's past indiscretions leaked Thursday and the 27-year-old, who is now married with three children, immediately issued a statement apologizing for his indiscretions. "Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. 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," Duggar continued, "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. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption."
According to a 2006 police report published by In Touch, his parents reported the incidents to the police but charges were never filed.
In addition to his statement, the eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar resigned his position as a lobbyist with the Family Research Council (FRC), an organization dedicated to preserving family values in America.
Jim Bob and Michelle also issued a statement about the ordeal, which they called "one of the most difficult times" of their lives. "That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before. Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family."
The move is no surprise considering that TLC canceled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo shortly after allegations surfaced about a romantic relationship between series matriarch June "Mama June" Shannon and a man convicted of child molestation.
Like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, 19 Kids and Counting is one of the cable channel's biggest brands. The show has been on the air since 2008 and is in its 15th season. The profile of the Duggar family had been on the rise in recent years thanks to national magazine covers focused on the marriages and pregnancies of the Duggar children.
However, controversy has followed the Duggar clan as well. In November 2014, more than 100,000 people signed a Change.org petition calling for TLC to cancel the show after Michelle was featured in a robocall telling Fayetteville, Ark. residents to opposite an anti-discrimination ordinance that many critics deemed as anti-gay.
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