Three advertisers drop TLC’s ’19 Kids and Counting’

27 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

’19 Kids and Counting’ Loses Advertisers Following Josh Duggar Scandal.

On his ESPN radio show Friday (listen here), Tony Kornheiser paused for a moment to analyze the news that Josh Duggar, the “19 Kids and Counting” reality-show star, was in trouble over reports that he had sexually abused at least five children when he was a teenager.

Their television series, 19 Kids and Counting (the title changes with every new member of the Duggars that chugs off the production line), had, blissfully, never once entered my viewing stratosphere.Between Bill Cosby, Jian Ghomeshi, Rolf Harris, Jimmy Savile, Terry Richardson, Woody Allen, like half the British government or something, and, most recently, American schlock TV star Josh Duggar, one might say that it has been a rough couple of years for famous men accused of sexual impropriety.Just days before reports resurfaced alleging that her husband molested five girls 12 years ago, Anna Duggar shared a mysterious message about forgiveness on social media. In a statement to People magazine Josh, who is married with three children, said: “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.” He continued: “I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation.

Imagine an ultra Conservative, way cheesier and infinitely more annoying version of the Kardashians; a family so ludicrously pure and pious in its self-acclaimed ethos they make the Osmonds look like gangsters. The claims about Josh Duggar first came to light on May 21, when In Touch Weekly Magazine disclosed the results of a police report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counselling.

Tony worked his way through the Duggar story, wondering whether it was “reasonable” that Duggar should be “driven from his job,” while his on-the-air companions attempted to persuade him that indeed it was because the FRC is a conservative lobbying organization. But my favorite is that skirts above the knee are banned in the household because Michelle believes they don’t just reveal thighs, they reveal ‘nakedness and shame’ and ‘defraud’ men by encouraging ‘lustful thoughts’. According to information in the police report, the In Touch story says, Josh Duggar, who’s now 27, was years ago “investigated for multiple sex offenses — including forcible fondling — against five minors. Others saw their victims come forward only to be laughed off and dismissed by the culture at large – victims forced to watch the world fawn over their abusers while the statute of limitations achingly slipped away. None except for Ghomeshi, Harris and perhaps Cosby have experienced significant damage to their careers, and even those who are facing criminal charges got to spend the previous years doing exactly as they pleased, (allegedly) flush with the illusion of untouchability, leveraging their fame and power while freely victimising others for sport and pleasure.

Josh Duggar, 21, and wife Anna tied the knot in September and found out they were pregnant in February “I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life… I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. Kornheiser mentioned that he believed that Duggar, now a 27-year-old father of three with another on the way, and his family had had “counseling,” which wasn’t exactly spot-on. “If you hold out the reasonable possibility that something therapeutic can change your life, then everyone should have the opportunity to be changed for the better, right?” Kornheiser is being pummeled by internet enthusiasts, and probably rightly so, but he most likely was reacting to the angry chorus of voices rather than condoning something abhorrent. Making the molestation allegations even more troubling, In Touch also reports, is the revelation that “four of the now-27-year-old’s underage victims lived in his parents Jim Bob and Michelle’s Springdale, Ark. home at the time of incidents, meaning they were most likely his younger sisters.” On Facebook, members of the Duggar family responded to the reports. The risk of doing that in the moment is that, occasionally, the angry mob has a good point and pushing back against it without having all the information can change the focus to you.

So we now have a whole assortment of adults, including two parents, churchmen and a state trooper, who knew of sustained sexual abuse but never felt it necessary to report it to the police. Despite this bombshell lurking in the background, the Duggars, unbelievably, decided to chase the money from their supposedly wholesome family image by launching their own TV show in 2004 starting with four specials. In October, the network canceled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo shortly after allegations surfaced about a romantic relationship between series matriarch June “Mama June” Shannon and a man convicted of child molestation. Incredibly, Josh Duggar’s vile secret remained just that from the public for nearly another decade until InTouch magazine finally revealed it last week.

Now, I’m used to shameless hypocrisy from ultra-right Conservatives, particularly those who love to preach to the rest of this about what perfect little goody-goodys they are. And yet, as is typical, especially in insular, patriarchal religious communities, Josh’s life rolled on with little perceptible disruption – he’s now married with four children of his own, two of whom are girls, and (until he resigned this week) he was executive director of the political arm of the Family Research Council, a rightwing hate group that specialises in spreading hysteria about transgender people assaulting your children in public toilets. A family that knows one of their own members is a repeated sexual predator who preyed on girls in his home, yet allows him to co-star in a TV show extolling the sanctimonious virtues of family morality. ‘I don’t believe citizens would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas reserved for women and girls,’ she raged.

Josh has already been defended by rightwing Christians as high-profile as presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who called the sexual assault of five children a “mistake” made by a “good [person]”. Following the InTouch expose of Josh Duggar, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee popped up to add his contribution to the debate that instantly raged across America. One pastor’s wife who also subscribes to the Duggars’ “Quiverfull” movement (which, apparently, is where you pretend your nutsack is a quiver and your penis is a stout longbow and your wife is a pile of hay or rags that you shoot sperm arrows into), argued that Josh was just “playing doctor” and deserves to be “left alone to live a good life”. It strains imagination to wonder where these supposed pillars of morality actually draw the line. (A transgender person going to the bathroom, I guess.) What’s frightening is that we’re so accustomed to giving powerful, famous men the benefit of the doubt that, on a cultural level, we treat men’s reputations with the same reverence as victims’ safety. “Sure, it’s important to protect the vulnerable and sexually traumatised or whatever, but what about that nice man’s TV show? Huckabee huffed and puffed his way around the airwaves like a fulminating fossil, telling anyone who would listen – and flog his book in the process – what a terrible example Bey is to young people, and how personally disgusted he was by the sexual content of her songs.

You can’t just take away a man’s stuff!” The result is a system in which victims often find themselves on trial in their own rape proceedings; a culture in which silence is incentivised and speaking out is often punished; a world in which we have ample vocabulary for comforting the accused (“I’m waiting to hear all the facts,” “we can’t jump to conclusions,” “who can even make sense of consent these days?”) but precious little for victims (when’s the last time you heard a simple, unqualified “I believe you” outside of the feminist blogosphere?). So, to any of Josh Duggar’s alleged victims, to anyone raised in a purity culture that blamed and shamed you for your own victimisation, to anyone whose trauma has been sidelined while your abuser’s feelings are placed centre-stage, to anyone thinking of speaking up and anyone who feels like they can’t: I believe you. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us — even though we are so undeserving. But isn’t it quite extraordinary that someone could actually attack Beyonce for her sexual morality, then a few months later stand up and defend a sex predator who escaped justice? The Duggars’ show has now been taken off air while TLC, the network which airs it, considers what to do in light of these shocking revelations about one of its biggest stars.

It’s time this repulsively hypocritical family was sent packing permanently from the airwaves and their equally hypocritical supporter Mike Huckabee dispatched with them.

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