Entertainment News -TLC has pulled all episodes of “19 Kids and Counting,” its popular reality TV show about the Duggar family, amid allegations that their oldest child molested underage girls when he was a teenager.
“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,” TLC said in a statement on Friday in which it said that the episodes had been yanked effective immediately.
The move comes a day after Josh Duggar, 27, issued an apology and quit his job following a bombshell article in In Touch Weekly. The magazine published a police report that claimed Josh Duggar fondled five young girls 12 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,” Josh Duggar said in statement on the Duggar family Facebook page.
The startling accusation about the deeply religious Duggars, whose daily lives as a huge conservative evangelical Christian family were broadcast through the hit “19 Kids and Counting” series and in specials showing the older kids getting married and having kids of their own, is the second such blemish for TLC in a mere six months.
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, Josh’s parents, acknowledged in a statement that Josh “made some very bad mistakes” as a young teen.
“We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before,” the statement said.
The allegations were made public as TLC happened to be airing a “19 Kids and Counting” marathon, drawing even sharper criticism from people on social media who questioned why they didn’t change their lineup immediately.
Josh Duggar resigned from his position at Family Research Council, a D.C-based Christian lobbying group, after the reports about him surfaced.
“Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work,” executive director Tony Perkins said in a statement.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2016 Republican presidential nominee who the Duggar family has endorsed, offered his support earlier Friday.
“Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’ He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities,” Huckabee said.
It is unclear whether TLC could have known about the allegations before it approved the series in 2008.
— Elizabeth Chuck, NBCNews.com