TLC finally cancels Duggar series ‘Counting On’ after Josh Duggar’s child-porn arrest
TLC is parting ways with the Duggar family reality series “Counting On” following Josh Duggar’s April arrest on federal charges of downloading and possessing child pornography.
“TLC will not be producing additional seasons of Counting On,” the network said in a statement Tuesday. “TLC feels it is important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately.”
On Tuesday evening, Jinger Duggar Vuolo and her husband, Jeremy Vuolo, issued a statement via Instagram thanking TLC for its kindness and for the opportunity to be on the show.
“We wholeheartedly agree with TLC’s decision not to renew ‘Counting On’ and are excited for the next chapter in our lives,” they said. “We’d like to thank our fans, friends and the amazing film crew who have shown us love and support. We look forward to continuing our creative journey in Los Angeles and seeing what the future holds.”
Former reality TV star Josh Duggar faces federal charges of knowingly receiving and possessing child pornography, some depicting children under 12.
Josh Duggar, 33 — the eldest child in the large family of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — pleaded not guilty in April on the child-porn charges, which authorities said were linked to materials depicting the sexual abuse of children between the ages of 18 months and 12 years old.
Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Gerald Faulkner said at a May 5 hearing covered by E! that the former TLC reality star’s computer had downloaded multiple files depicting child sex abuse on three separate days in May 2019. Faulkner said the images were “in the top five of the worst of the worst that I’ve ever had to examine.”
“Counting On” revolved around the older siblings in the family made famous by the show “17 Kids and Counting,” which wound up “19 Kids and Counting” as Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar added more children to their brood. The original show, which was TLC’s most popular at the time, ran from 2008 to 2015.
Devout Baptists, Jim Bob and Michelle did not use birth control. They homeschooled all their kids, and the older children practiced “chaperoned courtship” to meet their future spouses.
During the final year that “19 Kids” aired, Josh admitted and apologized for his actions in 2002 and 2003, when he had “improperly touched” a babysitter and four of his younger sisters. After Hulu severed ties with “19 Kids and Counting” and several companies said they planned to remove their ads from the show, “19 Kids” was canceled in July 2015.
“This was not rape or anything like that,” Jim Bob Duggar said in a June 2015 interview on Fox News. “There were a couple of instances where he touched them under their clothes, but it was like a few seconds. And then he came to us and was crying and told us what happened.”
The family said everyone involved had received professional counseling, including Josh, who Jim Bob said was a “changed person” afterward. During the scandal, Josh had resigned his position as head of the Family Research Council’s lobbying arm.
Josh Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” fame has pronounced himself “the biggest hypocrite ever” and admitted to cheating on his wife after it was revealed Wednesday that he had paid accounts with Ashley Madison, the affair-facilitating website that was hacked a month ago.
In August 2015, TLC ran a one-hour documentary, “Breaking the Silence,” with the intent of raising awareness of the sexual abuse of minors. The special featured two of Josh Duggar’s sisters, Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald, who were identified as two of Josh’s victims, in addition to other survivors and families.
That same month, Josh admitted cheating on wife Anna Duggar after it was revealed that he had paid accounts on Ashley Madison, an affair-facilitating website, from 2013 to 2015. He also admitted he was addicted to internet porn.
“I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him,” Josh said in a statement at the time.
A week later, he checked into “a long-term treatment center,” his parents said, noting that for Josh it would be “a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change.”
Josh Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” fame is seeking treatment of an undisclosed nature after finding himself embroiled in what his parents are calling a “most difficult situation.”
“Counting On” was spun off in December 2015, initially focusing on the older Duggar kids, minus Josh. His wife and their six children — two of whom were born after the cheating scandal — ultimately participated during the show’s 11 seasons, along with the rest of the extended family.
If convicted, Josh Duggar faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000 on each of two counts, for receipt and possession of child pornography.
Josh Duggar’s trial is scheduled to start in July.
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