Whether one is discussing Sister Wives ( which follows the ups and downs of one polygamist husband, his four wives, and the 17 children in their household) or Toddlers in Tiaras (which explores the some would say disturbing world of childhood beauty pageants), TLC has become the default network for controversial, “lifestyle” reality shows. In recent weeks the network has faced shame because of sex abuse scandals involving some of TLC show stars.
The first TLC show axed was Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, a spinoff of Toddlers in Tiaras. TLC canceled the show after rumors surfaced that June Shannon, the show’s matriarch, was allegedly dating the convicted sex offender who had been charged with molesting her daughter Anna. Shannon denies dating the man and says the relationship was just a rumor.
Last week, TLC was rocked by another scandal, as word that something horribly amiss had occurred in the in the Duggar household a dozen years ago. The Duggar family, comprised of very many conservative Christians,, and best known for the show 19 Kids and Counting which airs on TLC. The family claims to believe in nearly absolute abstinence; they are not even allowed to hold hands with a perspective mate until engagement.
However, their at the time14-year-old son, Joshua, confessed that he had fondled several young girls, including allegedly several of his own siblings, according to In Touch magazine, Duggar’s crimes were discovered by his father who notified the Arkansas authorities. The state trooper who took the report in 2005 never pursued the matter. Later, that same trooper was found guilty on child pornography charges and sentenced to serve a 56 year prison term. Following his conviction, the Arkansas State police informed the local Child Abuse Hotline about the inactive Duggar case and it was handed off to two new sets of law enforcement authorities, the Crimes Against Children Division and the Springdale Police Department. However, by this time, the three-year statute of limitations had been exceeded and nothing could be done.
The eldest Duggar child, meanwhile, underwent counseling to try to get him back on the right path. However, the place his parents chose for him to undego treatment was the Basic Life Principles Training Center. The center is located in Little Rock, AR and was founded by Bill Gothard, a man of the cloth who also accused of improperly touching underage women. After Duggar completed his treatment sessions both of his parents felt that neither he nor any affected family member had further problems and that everything had resolved itself.
The Duggar’s may have wanted the story, and its accompanying shame, to end there, but once TLC network and the broader media found out about the reality star family’s sorted past, that proved impossible. Duggar resigned his position with the ultraconservative Family Research Council. TLC has pulled reruns of 19 Kids and Counting from the air and is undecided as to whether the show will be renewed. Many advertisers have decided not to buy commercial time during the show if TLC does opt to permit a return.
In yet another blow to the embattled network, June Shannon mentioned that she may possibly sue TLC if the Duggar’s are permitted to keep filming their show. She plans to sue not because her show was canceled, but because she feels TLC has a double standard. She further argues that while the person she is accused of seeing was never on the show, Josh Duggar is a main character in his family’s series. Perhaps, as some in the media have argued, this turn of events was to be expected when a network that used to be called The Learning Channel morphed into a shameful shell of its former self called TLC, overflowing not with educational material, but with reality stars.
By Martina Robinson
Mama June Shannon Threatens To Sue TLC If They Don’t Cancel ’19 Kids And Counting
In Touch- ’19 Kids and Counting’ Son Named in Underage Sex Probe
Radar Online- Healing The Sick? Josh Duggar’s Controversial Faith-Based Sex Abuse Treatment enter REVEALED
Reuters- Advertisers ditch TLC’s troubled ’19 Kids and Counting’
New York Post- Stop pretending to be surprised by the Duggar molestation mess
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