Top 10 TLC Scandals & Controversies
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Top 10 TLC Scandals & Controversies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
This channel just can't stay out of the headlines. For this list, we'll be looking at notable and controversial TLC scandals that shocked the mainstream and resulted in a ton of backlash against the offending show and/or its stars. Our list includes Toddlers and Tiaras, Jon and Kate Plus 8, Cake Boss, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 TLC Scandals.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20TLC%20Scandals
Special thanks to our user plastictongue for suggesting this idea!
Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 TLC Scandals

This channel just can’t stay out of the headlines. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 TLC Scandals.

For this list, we’ll be looking at notable and controversial TLC scandals that shocked the mainstream and resulted in a ton of backlash against the offending show and/or its stars.

#10: The Sexual Exploitation of Little Girls

“Toddlers & Tiaras” has been a source of consternation for years. The show, which chronicles the lives of child beauty pageant contestants, originally ran from 2009 to 2013, but was put on hiatus following numerous controversies. Many of these involved the children’s costumes, which ranged from tasteless to downright inappropriate. One notable controversy involved Lindsay Jackson, who adorned her little girl with a padded bra and faced a custody battle with her estranged husband as a result. Just one week later, a three-year-old was dressed as Julia Roberts’s prostitute character in “Pretty Woman,” much to the media’s dismay. Despite the controversy and hiatus, the show returned after three years for a seventh and final season.

#9: Broken Amish

In 2012, TLC began airing a show called “Breaking Amish” wherein five Anabaptist adults move to New York City and experience modern life. However, the show was called out after just two episodes. Turns out that the cast was less breaking Amish and more already-broken. Some brief digging revealed that the cast members had already left their respective communities and performed non-Amish activities. For example, it was revealed that Rebecca was a divorced mother, that Jeremiah and Sabrina had drunken sex while filming, and that Jeremiah was a divorced father accused of domestic abuse. An entire Facebook page called Breaking Amish the Truth was created to highlight the show’s numerous inconsistencies and flat-out lies.

#8: Jon vs. Kate vs. TLC

“Jon & Kate Plus 8” was once one of TLC’s most popular shows. That is, until their marriage dissolved and the whole thing became a legal and tabloid-strewn nightmare. Just two months after the divorce was announced, police were called to their house following a nasty fight. Jon then went to the court to prevent TLC from filming and entering their property. TLC then sued Jon for breach of contract. Jon’s girlfriend then left him after finding out that he cheated on her. Kate and Jon have since been embroiled in a nasty custody battle and arguments over one of their sons, who Jon says has literally disappeared from his life. Like we said, it’s a nightmare.

#7: The Meri Brown Catfish Scandal

“Sister Wives” follows Kody Brown and his polygamist arrangement to his four wives (with only one of the marriages being legal). Kody’s first and legal wife, Meri Brown, was distraught after Kody asked for a divorce so he could legally marry his fourth wife, Robyn. Seeking emotional comfort, Meri sought out the charms of a Chicago businessman. Or so she thought. Meri was actually catfished by a woman named Jackie Overton, who was pretending to be the charming businessman. Jackie later leaked private seductive texts and voicemails to the media and wrote a book about the experience titled Almost Meri’ed. The reviews are rightfully harsh.

#6: Jacob Roloff Speaks Out

We all know that some reality shows are a little lax on the “reality” aspect. “Little People, Big World” follows the Roloff family, which includes dwarves Matt and Amy and their four children, three of whom are of average height. However, son Jacob has alluded that many facets of the show are fabricated for entertainment. In a ranting Instagram post, Jacob admitted that storylines are written for drama, that his family were made into characters, and that the network is only interested in ratings. One year earlier, he had also insinuated on Twitter that he was never rightfully paid for his time on the show. These factors eventually led Jacob into quitting the series.

#5: Dog Murder

“Gypsy Sisters” chronicled the daily lives of various Romanichal women in West Virginia. It ran for four seasons from 2013 to 2015, the latter being the same year that a cast member’s dog was murdered. In July 2015, police were called to the residence of cast member Mellie Stanley and her husband, Randall Scott Vuncannon. They found a battered Mellie outside the house, who told them that her husband lost his temper and threw their dog across the room. When police investigated the house, they found the dog’s body in the living room. Randall was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty and the show was cancelled only a few days later due to low ratings.

#4: Remy Gonzalez Sexually Assaults a Teenager

“Cake Boss” is a fun little series that showcases the day-to-day lives in New Jersey’s Carlo’s Bake Shop. It focuses on the making of their amazing, intricate cakes and the personal drama between the owners and employees. But there is no greater drama than the arrest of cake decorator Remy Gonzalez. In August 2010, Gonzalez, brother-in-law of Carlo’s Bake Shop owner Buddy Valastro, was arrested after witnesses claimed that he had sexually assaulted a young teenager. Gonzalez pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison. He must also register as a sex offender, and reports state that he faces deportation to Mexico once he is released from prison.

#3: Mama June Reportedly Dates a Registered Sex Offender

This is one of those controversies that just keeps getting worse and worse. “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” was the infamous spin-off of “Toddlers & Tiaras,” a show already rife with controversy. The cast members were also made into national laughingstocks due to their personalities and off-putting habits. But then a rumor started circulating that Mama June was dating a registered sex offender who was convicted of molesting an 8-year-old child 10 years prior. To make matters worse, that child was Mama June’s own daughter, Anna. Despite denials, the show was cancelled by TLC following the outcry. Turns out that people don’t want to be associated with that kind of behavior. Who knew?

#2: Toby Willis Is Accused of Raping His Own Daughters

Now this is one disgusting and heartbreaking story. After appearing on Season 9 of “America’s Got Talent,” the musical Willis family, known as The Willis Clan, received their own show on TLC chronicling the creation of their music and family life. However, patriarch Toby Willis was arrested in September 2016 on accusations of a rape of a child under 13. He was later indicted on four counts of child rape, and documents harrowingly showed that the victims were his own prepubescent daughters. Toby pleaded guilty on all four counts and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Audrey Roloff Condemns Same-Sex Marriage

Derick Dillard Makes Transphobic Remarks

Smoking Toddlers

#1: Josh Duggar

On May 21, 2015, allegations came to light claiming that Josh Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” had sexually molested several young girls, including four of his sisters, when he was a teenager. However, the statute of limitations had expired, so Duggar faced no legal ramifications. Only three months later, Duggar was named in the Ashley Madison breach and admitted to being unfaithful to his wife. And three months after THAT, Duggar was sued by pornographic actress Danica Dillon, who claimed that Duggar emotionally and physically abused her at a strip club. However, the suit was later dropped. Despite little punishment, Duggar became universally despised and “19 Kids and Counting” was swiftly cancelled.
TLC needs to return to the old format with educational shows.