Advertisers are pulling out from the embattled family reality TV show 19 Kids And Counting after the sexual molestation scandal involving one of its stars, Josh Duggar, 12 years ago when he was still a teenager, emerged.
Reports from USA Today said that drug store chain Wallgreens, followed General Mills, Payless ShoeSource and Choice Hotels in deciding to abandon the show after an avalanche of pressures from loyal customers posted on Twitter and Facebook came flooding.
Linda Rodko wrote on Wallgreens Facebook page, "I would like to know that Walgreen will not sponsor a show like 19 Kids And Counting."
Walgreens replied, "Hi @ Linda Rodko. In the wake of recent news, we are no longer advertising on the '19 Kids and Counting' program." The drug store chain repeated the same line to every customer who posted their disgust over 19 Kids And Counting, and asked whether Wallgreens is still a sponsor of the troubled show.
To date, 14 major sponsors have left 19 Kids And Counting, including Sherwin Williams, CVS pharmacies, food giant ConAgra Foods, coffee maker Keurig, Ace Hardware, Party City, Pure Leaf Ice Teas, Bohr Pain, All State Insurance and King's Hawaiian.
The sponsors took to social media to explain to consumers they were pulling out from 19 Kids and Counting amidst mounting pressure, CNN said.
"We share your concern for the safety of children and have no plans to air Crayola commercials during future episodes," Crayola tweeted Wednesday.
CVS posted this message to its customers, "Thank you for reaching out. While our current advertising campaign includes the TLC network, we have not and will not advertise during the '19 Kids And Counting' program."
The trouble of 19 Kids And Counting began after news that Josh Duggar sexually molested five young girls, including his four sisters 12 years ago when he was only 15, and that his pious parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, made sure that he was not prosecuted for his action.
Josh Duggar took to Facebook to confess and asked for understanding from the public.
"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling.
"I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God's grace, mercy and redemption."
The revelation and admission completely damaged the conservative Christian family-values brand forcing TLC to cancel the show's airing last Friday. It was unsure if TLC will completely unplug the show or simply remove Josh as some damage control.
According to E! Online, the network has not yet made any long-term decision about 19 Kids And Counting as the show pulls in over three million viewers per episode. The cable network quickly suspended Honey Boo Boo in October after it was reported that Mama June was dating a convicted sex offender who allegedly molested her own daughter when she was 8.
There are speculations that TLC will spinoff 19 Kids And Counting that will focus on newlyweds Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard, and Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald, reported Gossip Cop. It added that the proposed spinoff will follow the lives of the married couples starting their own families.
The network did not comment on the spinoff rumors, but speculations are rife about the lives of the two standout sisters. TLC's ratings for 19 Kids And Counting shot up in an episode focusing on Jill's birth. It is expected that Jessa's birth will also be another ratings bonanza.