(CNN) – For years the Duggars have been TLC’s biggest and highest rated family, banking on an image of wholesome, Christian values. That has gained them the favor of high profile Conservatives-even appearing alongside presidential candidates.
But now a disturbing revelation about the Duggars’ eldest son Josh could derail everything: a report by In Touch Weekly alleging that he molested several young girls including family members.
Josh apologized in a statement on his family’s facebook page, writing:
“Twelve years ago… I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret…. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing.”
In the same statement, Josh’s parents admit that they’ve known about his actions for years adding: “We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family.”
“You think it’s, you know, past memory? No. this is child molestation, this is a family values show; I just don’t see how it survives. I don’t see how you would frame it in a way that it would survive.”
With camera crews and producers watching the family since 2008, critics question whether or not TLC has also kept this story under wraps.
“The whole basis of the show is about family values, at least that’s how I frame it and it’s about protecting children and raising children in the right way, and this admission goes against everything that they talk about.”
TMZ reports that the Oprah Winfrey Show was tipped off to Josh’s actions in 2006, prior to an interview. Producers reportedly canceled the segment and notified a child protection hotline.
CNN has contacted Oprah’s network and TLC’s parent company, but so far they’re saying nothing.
Meantime, Josh has resigned from his prominent role as president of the Family Research Council – a well known conservative Christian group in Washington.
But at least one high profile friend is sticking by the Duggars.
“They’re dear friends they are a wonderful, exemplary family.”
Candidate Mike Huckabee appeared with the Duggars just last month.
In a statement Friday, Huckabee confirmed his support writing: “Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.”
“Most things I think are forgivable in the American conscious, child molestation is just not.”
Cable channel TLC released the following statement Friday:
“Effective immediately, TLC has pulled all episodes of ’19 Kds and Counting’ currently from the air. 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.”
Future episodes of the show have not been canceled at this time.
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