Cable network TLC has pulled repeat episodes of its hit series "19 Kids and Counting" following reports that Josh Duggar, the 27-year-old son of series stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, had molested several minors when he was a 14-year-old.
In a statement announcing its decision yesterday, the network said "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."
"19 Kids and Counting" -- about the Duggars, a deeply religious Arkansas family -- is currently TLC's most-viewed program, averaging around 3 million viewers through May. The season finale aired Tuesday, so TLC's decision affects only repeats that had been scheduled. TLC did not say whether the show, which has been airing since 2008, would return.
Meanwhile, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee criticized "those who have enjoyed revealing . . . [these] long ago sins."
"Josh's actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, 'inexcusable,' but that doesn't mean 'unforgivable,' " Huckabee, a 2016 Republican presidential hopeful, said in a statement posted Friday on Facebook. "He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story."
Josh Duggar stepped down as executive director of the Family Research Council's political arm Thursday, saying he had "acted inexcusably." With AP