Has Josh Duggar forever tainted the Duggar family name? The oldest son of the 19 Kids And Counting clan has been surrounded with scandal for months. First broke the news that when Josh was a teen, he molested five underage girls, four of whom were his sisters, which resulted in TLC’s decision to cancel 19 Kids. Then, just after the Duggars themselves had confirmed those molestation reports, the Ashley Madison website got hacked, revealing that Josh had paid for subscriptions on the site devoted to helping with infidelity. Josh subsequently confessed to cheating on his wife Anna Duggar as well as an addiction to porn, entering rehab.
Since then, TLC has created a reboot of 19 Kids, with two of the sisters who Josh molested (Jessa and Jill, both of whom self-identified as among Josh’s victims) starring as well as other family members including Anna Duggar. But advertisers are fleeing from the Duggar family reboot, according to Refinery29.
TLC took a risk when it decided to create the spin-off, Jill & Jessa: Counting On, last December, because of the reason that it initially cancelled 19 Kids: Protests and dwindling advertisers. However, after testing the show, the network started a new season March 15, making some companies unhappy at seeing their advertisements aired during the Duggar family show.
Brands that included The UPS Store, Cicis, and Verizon Wireless clarified that they did not control when TLC ran their ads, but that they had told the network to halt. Others protesting and taking their ads away from being associated with the Duggars new show include Mattress Firm, WhiteWave Foods, and Choice Hotels.
In addition, a rep for Pure Michigan, a campaign designed to promote tourism, took a strong stance against the Duggars, reported In Touch Weekly, which quoted that rep.
“The Pure Michigan ads were not supposed to air during this program… We contacted TLC immediately after learning about this mistake, and have been assured no Pure Michigan ads will run on this program moving forward. The Counting On program does not meet our brand guidelines.”
As for what the future holds for the Duggar brand, one media expert contends that TLC will continue to be challenged in luring advertisers to support the show. That guru, David Johnson, CEO of Strategic Visions, believes that many viewers feel the show is an attempt by the Duggars to make money and get publicity.
“The Duggars are radioactive right now,” proclaimed the media specialist. “People will see that this new show is just a desperate ploy by the Duggars to reclaim the spotlight and hopefully make some dollars off the public.”
All of this controversy has taken its toll on the Duggar family. And in particular, faced with deciding what to do about the elephant in the room, their son, Josh, his parents Michelle and Jim Bob are fighting so bitterly that divorce rumors are swirling, according to a source cited by Hollywood Life.
Ever since Josh got out of rehab, Michelle and Jim Bob are experiencing extreme tension. With some members of the family shunning Josh, and seeking to avoid him as well as protect their children from being near him, it’s hit his parents especially hard.
“It’s splitting the family apart,” revealed that source.
Married for 31 years, Michelle and Jim Bob have been through some challenges recently because of Josh, but the battle among their other 18 children when it comes to how they feel about their oldest son is making the situation worse, clarified the source.
“Jim Bob believes that Josh is completely cured, and Michelle, while she would never admit it publicly, understands why some family members don’t want Josh around them or their children.”
While Jim Bob is contending that Michelle needs to ignore the past, she disagreed, and the stress has become so intense that some close to them worry it could cause their marriage to crumble.
“She stood her ground and said she was putting family first by being cautious,” explained the insider. “Michelle has actually raised her voice to Jim Bob, which never happens. It’s gotten so bad that friends think this could destroy the marriage that no one ever thought could be broken.”
[Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images]