Advertisers ditch TLC's troubled '19 Kids and Counting'

Tue May 26, 2015 7:37pm EDT
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By Daina Beth Solomon and Mary Milliken

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Four advertisers pulled out of TLC's reality show "19 Kids and Counting," putting pressure on the U.S. cable network to decide the fate of the top-rated program about a Christian family after reports that the eldest son had molested underage girls.

Retailers Walgreen Co WALG34.SA and Payless Shoesource Inc, and hotel chain group Choice Hotels International Inc (CHH.N: Quote) on Tuesday followed the lead of General Mills Inc (GIS.N: Quote) in removing their ads from the program.

TLC, which is owned by Discovery Communications (DISCA.O: Quote), had pulled episodes of the show last week and said Tuesday it had no comment on whether it would cancel the show.

Some of the advertisers took to Twitter to address consumer complaints.

"We share your concerns and we have decided to remove our advertising from the show," said Choice Hotels, which runs Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge chains, among others.

The network pulled all episodes after In Touch magazine last week published information that Josh Duggar, now 27, had molested several female minors when he was a teen.

Duggar issued an apology on Thursday acknowledging "wrongdoing" 12 years ago and quit his job at the Family Research Council, a Christian lobbying group. But he did not directly address the allegations.

The controversy over the Duggars, an Arkansas family of devout Christians, has spilled into the political realm as conservatives rallied to the family's side.   Continued...

Josh Duggar, Executive Director of the Family Research Council Action in Ames, Iowa August 9, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Frank