19 Kids And Counting Advertisers Are Dropping Like Flies

It’s been a hard and fast fall for the Duggar family since Josh, the oldest son, confirmed that he molested five underage girls — several of whom may have been his sisters — during his teenage years. Apart from a bizarre statement of support on behalf of Josh Duggar from presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, popular opinion is mostly united by general outrage and demands that 19 Kids and Counting be cancelled completely. Last Friday, Discovery Communications, which owns TLC, issued a statement that it had “pulled all episodes of 19 Kids and Counting currently from the air.” Though the network has yet to make a definitive call on the show’s future, advertisers are already backing away. General Mills was the first to remove its ads from the program schedule on May 22. Payless ShoeSource and Choice Hotels followed suit, both announcing intentions to cut ties with the show shortly thereafter. Walgreens — another major advertiser — waffled at first, telling consumers through its Facebook page on May 24 that it would be “monitoring” the situation prior to making a decision about removing ads. However, following several days of commenter complaints, the company relented, writing on May 26 that “in the wake of recent news, we are no long advertising on the 19 Kids and Counting program.” With so many major sponsors pulling ad dollars from the program, eventually TLC will be forced to take a definitive stand. In the court of public opinion, the show already seems to be sunk: #CancelTheDuggars has been trending on Twitter since the news broke, and it looks as though audiences aren’t feeling especially forgiving towards anyone complicit in skirting Josh Duggar’s crimes — advertisers included. TLC has unfortunately been down this red flag-pitted path before. The network weathered a similar storm last October following a child molestation controversy surrounding Here Comes Honey Boo Boo; the show was inevitably cancelled. "Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority. TLC is faithfully committed to the children's ongoing comfort and well being," the network said in a statement at the time. To stay true to those sentiments, they're going to have to let 19 Kids and Counting go, too — a decision that will likely be made easier as advertisers continue to take a stand of their own.

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