TLC has canceled 19 Kids and Counting in the wake of star Josh Duggar‘s admission that he molested several underage girls, including some of his own sisters, when he was a teenager, The Associated Press reports.
The show has been airing on TLC for 10 years and is the network’s most-watched series. It was pulled from the air in May after Duggar, who has not been charged, apologized for his actions.
In addition to canceling 19 Kids, TLC is partnering with two child-protection agencies – Darkness to Light and RAINN – to launch an awareness campaign about child sexual abuse, beginning with a one-hour documentary that will likely air in August. Jill and Jessa Duggar, Josh’s sisters and molestation victims, will participate in the program along with other abuse survivors and their families. Jessa and Jill Duggar have said publicly that they forgive their brother and have “moved on” from the incidents.
“We took it as an opportunity to step further than just ‘How do we protect ourselves?’ and step into ‘How do we protect our audience and protect children?'” Marjorie Kaplan, president of TLC, Animal Planet and Velocity, told the AP. “Our hope is to do more of that, in a way that’s thoughtful and respectful of the victims of child abuse — in the Duggar family and across America. … The goal is to take what has been a difficult and painful experience, and focus that attention on the really critical issue of child protection and child sexual abuse.”
Last year, TLC was forced to cancel Here Comes Honey Boo Boo amid reports that matriarch June Shannon was dating a convicted child molester whose victims included one of her daughters.
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