While Josh Duggar and his family are currently under fire after the revelation that he molested underage girls, this is not the first time such incidents have come out in connection to stars on The Learning Channel (TLC) or its sister network, the Discovery Channel. Both networks are owned by Discovery Communications.
June Shannon, aka “Mama June” from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, raised this point earlier in the day on Friday, when she complained about TLC’s hesitation to act even after Duggar admitted to molesting his sisters and other girls when he was a teenager.
“I read that the Duggar family said, this happening with their son brought them closer to God and each other,” Shannon said at the time. “So they’re saying it’s OK to have family touch time? Hell no.”
Ultimately, the network pulled 19 Kids and Counting from its schedule, much as it did to Shannon’s show after she resumed a relationship with Mark McDaniel, who served a 10-year prison sentence for molesting another one of Shannon’s daughters, Anna Shannon, when the girl was 8 years old.
“Mama June” was also upset at the time because TLC acted within hours of learning about McDaniel’s actions, even though he never appeared on her show. McDaniel was released from prison in March 2014.
The network also acted quickly to remove the cheerleading reality show Cheer Perfection in January 2014 after 34-year-old Andrea Clevenger turned herself in to police in Arkansas for allegedly raping a 13-year-old boy and sending him nude pictures she said were of herself.
Clevenger was sentenced that November to two 10-year prison sentences and two 10-year suspended sentences, and was obligated to register as a sex offender.
Last August, Will Hayden, the star of the Discovery Channel’s Sons of Guns, (pictured above) was arrested and accused of raping his then-14-year-old daughter in a series of attacks that began when she was 11 years old.
The girl told authorities she was assaulted “almost daily” until she was 14, with Hayden allegedly telling her, “Don’t tell them nothing, because I’m all you’ve got.”
Three more victims later came forward saying that Hayden assaulted them, including his co-star and eldest daughter, Stephanie Ford. The show was quickly canceled, and Hayden was indicted last December. He pleaded not guilty and currently awaits trial.
Ford and her husband, Kristafor Ford, were also arrested last October and accused of beating a 9-year-old boy with a belt hard enough to leave “severe bruises” on his upper legs and buttocks.
One TLC show that has survived similar incidents is Cake Boss, which was renewed by the network this past January. A former cast member, Remigio “Remy” Gonzalez, was arrested in March 2010 charged with sexual assault for attacking a 13-year-old girl on two separate occasions.
Gonzales, whose brother-in-law Buddy Valastro is the show’s star, was sentenced to nine years in prison in November 2013.
TLC announced in January that the New Jersey-based show would get 40 more episodes between this year and 2017.