U.S. net TLC has pulled its reality series 19 Kids and Counting from the schedule, following allegations that 27-year-old Josh Duggar, while a minor himself, molested several underage girls.
Though the net is not commenting on the future of the show, it released a statement this afternoon indicating that all episodes have been pulled from the schedule.
“Effective immediately, TLC has pulled all episodes of 19 Kids and Counting currently from the air,” the statement reads. “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.”
InTouch magazine first published the story earlier this week, reporting that Duggar had been named in a 2006 police report as an alleged offender in an underage abuse probe. A social media frenzy erupted after the net aired a 19 Kids and Counting marathon on Thursday evening (May 21).
In a statement first released to People magazine on Thursday, Josh Duggar said: “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,” continued Duggar. “I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”
In the same statement, parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar acknowledged the incidents, calling the period “one of the most difficult times in our lives.”
“When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong,” they wrote. “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.”
Josh Duggar’s wife Anna was also included in the statement and pointed out that the events happened two years before the couple got engaged.
“When my family and I first visited the Duggar Home, Josh shared his past teenage mistakes. I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn’t know why he was sharing it,” she wrote. “For Josh he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was – even every difficult past [mistake].”
Following the allegations, Duggar has stepped down from his role as executive director of the conservative Family Research Council Action group in Washington DC.
19 Kids and Counting is the longest-running series on TLC and has aired on the net since 2008.