The star of the newly-canceled TLC reality show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo may have been even more rife with scandal than originally believed.
Executives axed the show amid reports of matriarch June “Mama June” Shannon dating her ex-boyfriend Mark McDaniel, a convicted child molester.
June Shannon and Mark McDaniel dated before his 10-year prison sentence, and he even molested one of June’s daughter’s prior to being locked up.
McDaniel is not the first sex offender Shannon has been linked to, though.
The father of Shannon’s daughter Jessica, Michael Anthony Ford, was arrested in 2005 and later convicted for the sexual exploitation of a child over the Internet.
According to Georgia Department of Corrections, he was sentenced to a maximum of four years behind bars and 10 years of probation for the criminal offense.
He is still behind bars on a separate charge of child abandonment.
The fathers of Shannon’s other children, including estranged husband David Michael “Sugar Bear” Thompson, also have criminal records, albeit not for sex crimes.
The father of the titular Honey Boo Boo (Alana Thompson), Suge was sentenced to to five years for robbing a series of campsites and setting fire to another.
David Dunn, the father of Anna Thompson, did time for stealing a handgun and later for stealing a carton of cigarettes. June sure knows how to pick ’em.
She and Sugar Bear split not long after Mark got out of the slammer.
All of which begs the question of why June wasn’t vetted by producers of Toddlers & Tiaras, where Alana got her reality TV start, or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
A basic background check would have shown that Shannon and McDaniel were connected via a residential address, along with several other names.
McDaniel’s name comes up as an “associated” name listed at a Stockbridge, Ga., address between 1996-2009 – the same as June’s address from 2001-07.
When the two shows premiered, in 2009 and 2012, respectively, he was in jail. In any case, “Background checks don’t catch everything,” one Hollywood lawyer said.
“And then you have the issue of juvenile records, which aren’t shown.”
Discovery had to abruptly cancel Sons of Guns, after star Will Hayden was arrested on multiple charges of rape and sexual assault against minors this year.
In this case, Hayden had no prior sexual offenses, so Discovery would have had no way of knowing about the alleged crimes except from the victims.
One high-powered reality TV executive says these two shows may change how diligently cast and crew members are vetted from this point on, however.
“This will force companies to go much deeper,” explained the source. “If a child is involved in a show, the entire crew undergoes background checks too.”
“That is likely to become more thorough as well.”