The streaming video site Hulu is the latest in a string of companies to pull their support from the hit TLC show "19 Kids and Counting," removing all episodes from its online library following reports that one of the show's stars, Josh Duggar, molested five underage girls when he was a teenager.
On Thursday, Hulu chief executive Mike Hopkins told CNNMoney that the company made the decision to pull the episodes "in consultation with TLC," which similarly removed all the scheduled reruns of "19 Kids" from its lineup last Friday. However, the channel has not yet revealed whether the series will eventually resume production.
Hopkins declined to say whether TLC had asked for the episodes to be removed, but explained the episodes had been taken offline "for the time being." "We're partners," he said. "We license the show from them. And of course, as you know, they took it off of their platforms, so we did the same."
Last week, Josh Duggar issued an apology for acting "inexcusably" in past "wrongdoing," after InTouch magazine revealed he was investigated in 2006 for inappropriately touching minors when he was 14 years old.
Since then, Duggar, now 27 and a married father of four, has stepped down from his role as as executive director of the Family Research Council's lobbying arm. While Duggar parents Jim Bob and Michelle and Josh's wife, Anna, have released statements regarding the issue, the family has remained out of the public eye since the incident surfaced.
Several major advertisers have since cut ties with the reality show, including General Mills, Payless ShoeSource, Choice Hotels, and Walgreens.
Hunter Frederick, a Christian public relations expert rumored to have been hired by the Duggar family after reports of the molestation emerged, recently explained that the apologies issued by Josh and his parents for his actions are simply not enough to remedy the effects of the scandal.
"I have no reason to think their apology wasn't sincere, but an apology is one small thing that needs to happen in this very large problem," Frederick told The Christian Post in a recent interview.
"The majority of people that are against the Duggars want some kind of legal punishment, which can't happen because of our country's statute of limitations law. That's why this whole thing is very sticky from a crisis management standpoint. He (Josh) has to pay his debt to society back in some form or fashion. Most of the time that's legal action, so how does that happen when he can't be prosecuted?" added Frederick.
Frederick explained that his clients go through an intense vetting process to determine whether they are capable of being helped and whether it's worth the company's investment. He added that while he was allegedly hired to help the Duggar family get through the scandal, said things did not work out with the Duggar family for reasons he could not reveal.
He told the news source that his firm looks for clients who have: "a willingness to admit fault, transparency, willingness to want to change. ... Especially with our Christian clients, repentance is critical. This isn't our first time doing this, we know when something's going to work out and when it's not."