- Season 22 of the popular children’s TV show “Arthur” shows teacher Mr. Ratburn getting married to another man.
- The episode aired on May 13, but it has since been revealed that Alabama Public Television decided not to run it.
- APT’s director of programming said they chose not to air the episode because many parents would find it inappropriate, “either because their children or too young, or because of their beliefs,” CNN reported.
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Alabama Public Television decided not to air a recent episode of the popular children’s TV series “Arthur” because it showed teacher Mr. Ratburn getting married to another man.
Instead of running the Season 22 premiere, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” APT preempted the show with a re-run.
APT’s director of programming, Mike McKenzie, told CNN that they showed a re-run instead because they felt that many parents would have found the same-sex marriage episode inappropriate, “either because their children are too young, or because of their beliefs.”
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” McKenzie added in an email to AL.com. “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 episode doesn’t discuss the teacher’s sexuality or show the ceremony itself, other than the couple walking together down the aisle.
CNN spoke to the show’s creator, Marc Brown, who said he felt it was important to portray a gay character on the show, since they are infrequently represented in media.
“So many of us have have family or friends who are gay who are not represented in the media,” Brown said. “We have people in our family that are gay and raising children and looking for things to validate their families.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, told CNN that “LGBTQ parents and their children deserve to see themselves reflected in media.”
“If leadership of this public broadcasting station cannot serve the interests of the entire public, it’s time to find someone who can,” Ellis said.
APT has no plans to run the episode in the future, but you can watch it online at PBS.org.
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