TLC Cancels "19 Kids And Counting" Amid Molestation Scandal
The reality show has been canceled following the Josh Duggar molestation revelations. The Duggar family issued a statement in response.
TLC said Thursday that it canceled 19 Kids and Counting amid the Josh Duggar molestation scandal.
The popular show was pulled from the channel's schedule back in May after allegations emerged that 27-year-old Josh Duggar molested five children, including four of his sisters. On Thursday, the show was officially canceled after running for 10 seasons.
Both TLC and the Duggars referred to an upcoming one-hour documentary about the family in their statements.
Here's the channel's statement:
After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with 19 Kids and Counting. 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. 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 has been especially concerned for the victims in this situation, including the Duggar family, and it is our hope that this effort will help those in need learn where to turn for information and help. The documentary will be commercial free, and we anticipate it will air later this summer.
TLC also announced a partnership with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) to help "spur a national dialogue" about child abuse and incest.
"We look forward to working closely with TLC and our partners at Darkness to Light, which does great work to train adults to recognize, prevent and react responsibly to child sexual abuse," RAINN's vice president of communications Katherine Hull Fliflet said in a statement.
"Together, we believe we can help families that have been affected by this terrible crime and make sure that parents and others have the knowledge and tools they need to help keep kids safe."
In response, the Duggar family issued a public statement about the cancellation on their website.
The family thanked God, their fans, and announced an upcoming "special documentary" in partnership with TLC.
Years ago, when we were asked to film our first one hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children, we felt that it was an opportunity to share with the world that children are a blessing and a gift from God. ...
Over the last several years people have said to us, "We love your show!" We have always responded, "It's not a show, it's our lives!" Our desire in opening our home to the world is to share Bible principles that are the answers for life's problems.
With God's grace and help Josh, our daughters and our entire family overcame a terrible situation, found healing and a way forward. We are so pleased with the wonderful adults they have all become.
It is our prayer that the painful situation our family went through many years ago can point people toward faith in God and help others who also have lived through similar dark situations to find help, hope and healing, as well.
We appreciate the love, support, prayers and kindness extended to us by many of you. You have deeply touched our hearts and encouraged us, during this time.
God's faithfulness and goodness to us, along with His abundant grace have given us strength and joy even in the most difficult days.
We have committed to Him that in all things—difficulties or success, good times or bad—we will purpose to bring Him honor by staying true to our faith and our family.
We look forward to working with TLC on this upcoming special documentary and hope that it is an encouragement to many. ...
We love each of you and look forward to unfolding the future with peace and joy.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family
At the end of the statement, they encouraged fans to keep in touch with the family via email.
In 2006, two years before 19 Kids and Counting (then 17 Kids and Counting) first aired on TLC, police investigated Josh Duggar for the sexual abuse of his siblings when he was 16 years old.
The police report of the investigation states that Josh Duggar's parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, recounted several times their daughters complained of Josh fondling them in inappropriate ways while they were sleeping.
The children confirmed these complaints to police, though they said things had "been better" in recent years. One child reportedly maintained that they did not feel safe at home. The statute of limitations on second-degree sexual assault (three years) had expired, and Josh Duggar did not face charges.
In May, In Touch magazine published a copy of the report. Later that day Josh resigned from his post as executive director of the Family Research Council. In the following weeks he, his wife, Anna, and his parents all issued statements about how Josh had acted "inexcusably" 12 years ago.
The statute of limitations continues to apply and Josh Duggar will still not face charges.