Alabama Public Television (APT) has made the decision not to air the episode of PBS’s “Arthur” showing one of the male characters getting married to a man.
The episode, titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” aired nationwide on May 13 as the opener to the show’s 22nd season. Arthur and his school-age pals attend the wedding of teacher Mr. Ratburn to his male partner.
“It’s a brand new world!” one of the students says in the episode after it is revealed that Mr. Ratburn intends to marry a man, The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo previously reported.
When promoting the episode, PBS released a statement that read, “PBS Kids programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation. We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day.”
Instead of showing the episode on May 13, APT showed a re-run of the television program. Alabama media outlet AL.com reported that APT’s director of programming, Mike Mckenzie, said the station was informed by PBS and WGBH about the episode’s contents in mid-April and made the decision not to show that particular episode.
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” Mckenzie told the outlet in an email. “More importantly – although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards – parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for Arthur also watch the program.”
“The vast majority of parents will not have heard about the content, whether they agree with it or not,” he added, according to Entertainment Weekly. “Because of this, we felt it would be a violation of trust to broadcast the episode.”
AL.com also reported that APT refused to run an episode of Arthur back in 2005, in which a character named Buster “visited a girl who had two mothers.”
“Our feeling is that we basically have a trust with parents about our programming. This program doesn't fit into that,'' then-executive director of APT, Allan Pizzato, told the outlet at the time.
EW further reported that a representative for PBS Kids said local stations are run independently and allowed to make their own scheduling decisions.
Naturally, EW and other outlets couldn’t help but attack the decision in Alabama, bringing up other “anti-LGBTQ” issues in the state, including lawmakers’ attempts to stop same-sex marriage.