Walgreens on Wednesday became the latest company to pull its ads from TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" following controversy over one of its stars, Josh Duggar.
TLC said last week that it was yanking repeats of the reality series from its schedule after news reports surfaced that Duggar (who also posted on his family's Facebook page) had inappropriate conduct with minors when he was a teenager. The news triggered a social media firestorm, with many expressing anger and disappointment toward the large Arkansas family featured on the show.
The network declined to comment.
The channel was launched in 1972 as the Appalachian Community Service Network. and became The Learning Channel in 1980. TLC is available in about 94 million homes in the U.S. It is the second-most-widely-viewed channel owned by Discovery Communications, behind the Discovery Channel. From late September to early May, TLC, whose target audience is women, averaged more than 1 million viewers a night during prime-time hours, according to Nielsen.
However, the channel has had its fair share of controversy in the last year. In October 2014, the network came under fire for its popular reality show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" after a report surfaced that matriarch June Shannon had rekindled her relationship with a convicted child molester who moved into the family home. Subsequently, TLC canceled the series.
Walgreens said in comments on its Facebook page that "in the wake of recent news, we are no longer advertising on the ‘19 Kids and Counting’ program."
The post from the nation's largest drugstore chain followed similar declarations from Payless Shoe Source, Choice Hotels, Pure Leaf Iced Tea and General Mills, who said they also plan on removing their ads.
Though some, including former Arkansas governor and current GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, lashed out at the “bloodthirsty media” for chasing the story about the Duggar family, others took to social media to voice their concerns.
Using the hashtags "#CancelTheDuggars," "DitchTheDuggars" and "#BoycottTLC," outraged viewers and consumers called on companies to take stand against the show featuring the Duggars.
"Please pull sponsorship of 19 Kids and Counting," one user tweeted at Choice Hotels.
Choice Hotels, which operates 6,300 hotels franchised in more than 35 countries and territories, also used social media to announce that it would no longer advertise if the show continued.
"Thank you for reaching out. We share your concerns and we have decided to remove our advertising from the show," the company tweeted.
Pure Leaf Iced Tea also assured customers in a tweet on Wednesday: "Thank you for contacting us to share your concerns. Please know that we will no longer be advertising on 19 Kids and Counting."
Others threatened to stop supporting the companies.
"Drop your sponsorship of 19 Kids and Counting or lose this customer," one user said to Payless Shoe Source on Twitter.
Payless Shoe Source responded on Tuesday: "Our ads ran during this show as part of a larger buy w/ TLC. We are taking steps to have them removed from future episodes."
CVS Pharmacy also responded to consumers with a tweet: "Thank you for reaching out. While our current advertising campaign includes the TLC network, we have not and will not advertise during the '19 Kids and Counting' program."
Staff writer Yvonne Villarreal contributed to this report.
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