Thousands are signing an online petition to get TLC to cancel the long-running 19 Kids and Counting television show after allegations of fear-mongering against the gay community.
The petition on Change.org is gaining momentum across social media as its organizer claims that the reality TV show's stars are "using their fame to promote discrimination, hate, and fear-mongering against gays and transgendered people."
The petition was launched by Jim Wissick of San Jose, California as a way to prompt The Learning Channel to axe the show. It has gathered over 30 thousand signatures so far at the time of this writing with a goal of 100,000.
"We need to redouble our efforts here and get these hate mongers off the air once and for all," Wissick said in an update to the petition on November 2. "Keep in mind this is a high rating show and will take maximum effort. Please post on your FB walls, Tweet, and email your friends! It's time to stop rewarding hate with more and more TV air time!"
19 Kids and Counting began in 2008 as 17 Kids and Counting and is currently enjoying its 9th season on TLC. It stars the Duggar family: Father Jim Bob, mother Michelle, and 19 children, all with names that start with a "J." The show has become a huge hit for the network, often featuring guest stars like Kirk Cameron, Dolly Parton, and Meredith Vieira. The show has even prompted several spin-offs, including United Bates of America, starring the Duggars' friends, and A Duggar Leaves Home, starring cousin Amy Duggar.
But this petition cites several examples of ways in which Wissick says the Duggars have shown discrimination towards the LGBT community, including a message recently posted to the show's official Facebook page regarding Michelle and Jim Bob's marriage.
"God designed marriage to be a loving, dynamic relationship between a husband and wife for a lifetime. God loves marriage and it is supposed to be full of love, joy, fun and romance," a photo's caption read. "We challenge all married couples to take a happily married picture and post it here."
When a fan posted a picture of him kissing his same-sex spouse, he said it was removed and he was banned from the page.
Wissick cited a recent report stating that the Duggars have donated $10,000 toward the campaigns of three opponents to Fayetteville, Arkansas's new Civil Rights Administration ordinance.
The law would "prohibit business owners and landlords from unjustly firing or evicting someone because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics," according to a report at the Fayetteville Flyer.
Wissick also mentions an automated call sent out by Michelle Duggar to Fayetteville residents that claimed that the new law would affect the safety of women and children, alleging that transgendered women in women's restrooms are "males with child predator convictions that claim they are female."
"Duggar[s] words reek of ignroance and fear mongering," Wissick adds. "Just because someone is transgendered doesn't mean they are a child predator or a rapist. The claim that this ordinance would provide predators with access to women's restrooms in order to assault or leer at girls or women is nothing more than fear-mongering and spreading ignornace and hatred. "
Wissick goes on to explain that Michelle and Jim Bob's son, Josh, is a member of the Family Research Council that he calls a "hate-filled, anti-gay organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010 labeled a 'hate group' for its 'dissemination of false and demonizing propaganda about gays and lesbians.'
"The Learning Channel & Discovery Networks need to seperate themselves from this bigotry and put an end to the Duggar's show," Wissick says in closing.
So far, TLC has offered no comment on the petition.