19 Kids and Counting (and in extension TLC) is having a pretty rough week. Just a few days after news became widely public that Josh Duggar had dealt with molestation charges at the age of 15, the popular reality series was yanked from TLC’s schedule. Now, it seems that advertisers are bailing left and right on the Duggar family.
General Mills was the first company to pull ads this week from the TLC show. Following the cereal and breakfast food company’s lead, other advertisers began dropping like flies. The NY Daily News notes that by Wednesday, Walgreens Co., Payless Shoesource and Choice Hotels International Inc. had also dropped advertisements, as well. Choice Hotels International owns a slew of hotel chains, including Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge. Some of the outlets, including Choice Hotels, actually addressed their concerns via social media, for better or for worse.
It’s not just advertisers that are dropping the Duggars. TLC itself sent a strong message when it pulled the series from the schedule, and that’s not the only move the network has made to distance itself from the family. The network also pulled the Duggars from the TLC Network Party in Philadelphia on May 30, which could have happened to protect the Duggar family from the press, but probably has more to do with protecting TLC's brand.
19 Kids and Counting just wrapped up a season on TV recently, which means the reality show isn’t airing new episodes or in production right now. It’s unclear if the network will move forward with new episodes eventually or will end up canceling the reality show, as is what happened after the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo molestation charges came to light. If 19 Kids and Counting does come back, I would theorize it would need to do so without Josh Duggar, who has already publicly apologized for the series of events that occurred when he was 15. In fact, with all of the press surrounding the scandal, it might simply be time to call the whole thing quits.
The moves from advertisers and TV networks aren’t exactly unprecedented. Advertisers and sponsors similarly dropped Paula Deen after racist accusations were brought up a couple of years ago. The celebrity foodie eventually apologized and began to rework her image, but it’ll be a long haul back to the top.
The Duggars fates are currently stuck in limbo, and we’ll keep you posted as the story plays out.