TLC has officially canceled “19 Kids and Counting” after the Duggar’s oldest son Josh admitted to molesting five minor girls, including his sisters Jill and Jessa.
In May, the network pulled all episodes of the series from its schedule before ultimately announcing the cancellation:
“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 on Thursday. “The show will no longer appear on the air.”
“We spent the past month and a half in thoughtful consideration about what is the best way forward here,” Marjorie Kaplan, group president of TLC, Animal Planet and Velocity networks told the Associated Press.
TLC also announced its partnership with child-protection organization, Darkness to Light and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), as part of a new campaign to raise awareness about child sexual abuse.
“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,” the network said in the statement.
On May 21, Josh Duggar addressed the molestation allegations and apologized in a statement on Facebook:
“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 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.”
His parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar also released a statement at the time.
“Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked,” they wrote in a statement on Facebook. “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.”
In Touch was the first to report that Jim Bob allegedly waited more than a year before he and some of the church elders took Josh to speak with an Arkansas State Trooper they knew personally, who gave the teen a “very stern talk.” The names of both the suspect and the alleged victims were redacted in the report, however, it listed Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar as their parents.
According to In Touch, “a bizarre turn of events prevented police and prosecutors from finishing their investigation and possibly prosecuting” Josh Duggar.
The magazine reported that the state trooper who first took over the report about the alleged abuse in late 2004 never followed up and was later convicted on child pornography charges, for which he is serving a 56-year prison sentence. The three-year statute of limitations had passed and would have prevented police to pursue any charges.
In June, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar admitted to keeping the matter from police, and in an interview with Megyn Kelly, they revealed Josh confessed to molesting his sisters three times before they got him any sort of “help.”
Josh, 27, is now married with three children and a fourth due in July. In May, he announced his resignation as executive director of Tony Perkins’ conservative and anti-gay group, Family Research Council Action.
“19 Kids and Counting” premiered on TLC in September 2008 and followed the lives of devout Independent Baptists Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children.
Last year, thousands signed a Change.org petition calling for the cancellation of the show claiming that the family was using their fame to “promote discrimination, hate, and fear-mongering against gays and transgendered people.” The petition was started after Michelle Duggar taped a robocall urging Fayetteville, Arkansas residents to oppose a law that would allow transgender individuals to use the proper bathroom.
In the call, Michelle said that transgender women should not be able to use women’s restrooms because she didn’t believe residents would want, “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”
The show was in its tenth season at the time of cancellation.