Almost two months after news broke of Josh Duggar's molestation scandal, TLC has canceled his family's reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, July 16.
"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 network said in an official statement, adding that "the recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection."
TLC's cancellation puts an end to months of speculation about the fate of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's famously large brood. The couple and their kids first rose to fame back in 2008, and finished their 10th season of 19 Kids this past May.
In addition to canceling the show, the network has teamed with two child-protection organizations to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. They're planning to air an hour-long documentary about the issue next month.
"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."
The statement concluded: "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."
As previously noted, reports surfaced in late May that Josh, now 27, had been accused of inappropriately touching five girls, including four siblings, when he was a teenager. In June, his sisters Jill and Jessa came forward as victims, telling Fox News' Megyn Kelly that they'd forgiven their brother for his past.
"I think in the case of what Josh did, it was very wrong. I'm not going to justify anything that he did or say it was okay. It's not permissible. But I do want to speak up in his defense against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist," Jessa explained. "That is so overboard and a lie, really."
Jill added: "This was something that's already been dealt with. We've already forgiven Josh. We've moved on."
Critics have been calling for 19 Kids' cancellation for months now, but TLC had held off on making a decision, despite advertisers pulling their support for the show.
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