Entertainment

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar speak after TLC canceled ‘Counting On’ amid Josh Duggar child pornography charges

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the parents from TLC’s reality show  “Counting On,” have broken their silence following the show’s cancellation, which was sparked by son Josh Duggar‘s indictment on child pornography charges earlier this year.

The couple kept things positive in a “family statement” shared Saturday to their website. They did not directly acknowledge the scandal, though they reflected on sharing their story, which included “some of the most difficult and painful moments our family has ever faced.”

“We are full of deep gratitude for the love shown to us and the prayers of so many who have sustained us both now and through the years,” the statement added.

The series’ spin-off “Counting On” featured storylines focusing on Josh’s sisters and their young families.

Josh’s sister Jinger Duggar Vuolo and her husband Jeremy Vuolo said in a statement Tuesday that they are “grateful” for the series, but “wholeheartedly agree” it should end.

“It’s been a remarkable journey that has opened doors to traveling and experiencing the world in a way that we wouldn’t have imagined possible,” the couple wrote in a statement posted to their respective Instagram accounts.

“We wholeheartedly agree with TLC’s decision not to renew ‘Counting On’ and are excited for the next chapter in our lives,” the statement continued. “We’d like to thank our fans, friends and the amazing film crew who have shown us love and support.”

“TLC feels it is important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately,” TLC said in a statement.

The Duggars said Saturday they look forward to “new adventures … with so many grown children and wonderful grandchildren.”

“We are forever grateful for our film crew and so many others behind the scenes who have become like family to us over the years,” they added. “The wonderful experiences that filming has provided us will be treasured always, and we look forward to discovering what’s next for our family and sharing more with you along the way!”

The Duggar family rose to fame with the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” which chronicled the personal lives of Arkansas parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their children. TLC canceled “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015 following a sexual abuse scandal involving the couple’s eldest son Josh, who later also admitted to a porn addiction and cheating on his wife Anna.

The cancellation announcement of “Counting On” comes the same day a judge ordered to postpone Duggar’s trial to Nov. 30.

In April, a federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas indicted Duggar, alleging that in 2019 he knowingly received images of children under the age of 12. The former TLC star has been charged on two counts pertaining to child pornography.

Duggar’s attorneys – Justin Gelfand, Travis Story and Greg Payne – said in a joint statement at the time that their client has pled not guilty to both charges and plans to “fight back in the courtroom.”

According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office, Duggar could face up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 on each count.

“Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children,” the press release said.

The case is being prosecuted in part by the national initiative Project Safe Childhood, a program started in 2006 by the Department of Justice to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse.

Less than a week before his arrest, Duggar’s wife announced on Instagram that she is pregnant with their seventh child, a baby girl.

Duggar was never charged after an anonymous tip spurred an investigation into his alleged fondling of five girls in 2002 and 2003. He acknowledged wrongdoing in a statement after news reports were published in 2015. His parents and two of his sisters later confirmed the actions.

 

 

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