And, just when you thought this story could not get any skankier, one of Mama June’s daughters, the now 20-year old Anna Cardwell (aka Chickadee), has come forward saying she was a victim of Mark McDaniel at age eight (McDaniel got out of prison this past March). That’s a reversal from this morning, when Anna was quoted by Radar, saying “I know for a fact it’s not true,” in re the reports about her mother’s rekindled relationship with the man who molested her, adding, “The person behind this, all I got to say is he or she is trying to tear the family apart, which isn’t right one bit.” TLC, which cut ties to the show after confirming details of June’s renewed relationship with McDaniel, has offered counseling to Anna, the network said. Anna decided to come forward when she became convinced her mother was again seeing McDaniel.
“Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority,” the network said in its statement — which, in order to underscore the seriousness of its concerns, it gave exclusively to tabloid TV show TMZ this morning.
“TLC is faithfully committed to the children’s ongoing comfort and well-being,” the network added for good measure.
“TLC has kinda told us to be hush hush,” Alana Thompson’s (aka Honey Boo Boo) mother June said in a video posted to Facebook this morning about her show’s cancellation. In the video, she again denied the report she had restarted a relationship with McDaniel, who was charged with molesting her daughter when they were first dating.
“Just got a phone call this morning from TLC and, as of right now, there will be no more production of the show,” Mama June said in the video. “These statements of me dating a sex offender is totally untrue. I would not ever ever every put my kids in danger. I love my kids too much. That is my past. I have not seen that person in 10 years and I don’t seem to want to see that person.”
One day earlier, TLC said it was mulling its options after a report surfaced that Mama June had rekindled her relationship with McDaniel.
“TLC is not currently in production on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. We are very concerned about this new information and are reassessing the future of the series,” a network rep said yesterday. The latest batch of Honey Boo Boo episodes wrapped in August. TLC already had another season shot when it decided to pull the plug on the show this week; those episode will not be aired. It’s unclear whether the episodes that wrapped in August in the United States have aired in overseas markets and, if not, whether TLC’s parent Discovery Communications will pull those episodes as well.
Since this show debut in 2012, TLC has been accused, here and abroad, of exploiting the children on this series. New York Daily News, for instance, wrote back then that “TLC and parents are making a big Boo Boo by exploiting a 7-year-old with a Honey of a TV show.” Lead sentence of that editorial: “It’s child abuse.”
In 2013, British newspaper The Guardian blasted TLC for making millions by showing a seven-year-old hopped up on Red Bull and sugar drinks, describing Honey Boo Boo as a child “who runs around in a twitching, sugar-and-caffeine-fuelled frenzy spouting catchphrases like “A dollar make me holla.” That paper suggested, “Honey Boo Boo may pretend to show a sympathetic depiction of its characters, but the editing and framing of the show make it hard to avoid the sense that the cast is being presented not so much as a different class, but practically a different species altogether.” Over the years, other publications have wondered how it’s in the best interest of a little girl year to have her shown on international TV referring to vaginas as “biscuits,” among other complaints.
In its statement, TLC said, in re the show’s cancellation: “TLC is faithfully committed to the children’s ongoing comfort and well-being.”
Here Comes Honey Boo features June and her daughter, former child beauty pageant contestant Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, who shot to fame on TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras. The show was filmed in the family’s hometown of McIntyre, GA — where McDaniel is now a registered sex offender.
Reality TV series stars making breathtakingly bad judgment calls isn’t exactly new — it kind of comes with the turf and is the reason we hope network reps for those shows are well compensated. But this report comes at a particularly awkward time for TLC — two days after the network said it had snagged an uplifting series about miracles from in-demand couple Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, in which GM Nancy Daniels said, “TLC is always looking for remarkable, heart-warming, and eye-opening stories,” and Downey said she and Burnett feel passionately about making TV and film projects that “show people’s lives in positive and uplifting ways.”
TLC cuting bait on Honey Boo Boo had been expected, given the wording of its statement at the time the report broke. Cutting the show comes at some potential cost to the network. Its ratings were are on the wane — its most recent batch of episodes averaged 1.5 million viewers and never cracking 2 million in a single episode which the show did routinely earlier in its run (its second batch of episodes, for instance, had wrapped with 3.21 million tuned in). That said, this latest run of episodes, which wrapped in August, ranked No. 1 among ad-supported cable programs in its Thursday 9 PM with women 18-34 and No. 2 with women 25-54 and 18-49. In 2014, it is a Top 5 series on TLC with women 18-34 and a Top 10 with women 25-54 and 18-49.