Culture

Arthur ‘gay wedding’ episode banned by Alabama Public Television

Vic Parsons May 21, 2019
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Arthur's teacher Mr. Ratburn got married to a man in the first episode of series 22.

Arthur's teacher Mr Ratburn married a man in the first episode of series 22. (PBS Kids)

Alabama Public Television has refused to show the premiere of the 22nd season of Arthur because it features a gay wedding.

Entitled “Mr Ratburn and the Special Someone,” the episode features the same-sex marriage of Arthur’s third-grade teacher, Mr Ratburn.

The episode first aired on May 13 but was not shown by Alabama Public Television (APT), which chose to show a re-run of an old Arthur episode instead.

“It would be a violation of trust to broadcast the episode,” the director of programming at APT, Mike McKenzie, told NBC News.

McKenzie said that in April, PBS alerted APT and other stations about “possible viewer concerns about the content of the program.” After watching the episode, McKenzie and others at APT made the decision not to broadcast it.

PBS show Arthur is under fire from One Million Moms
PBS show Arthur featured a gay wedding.

Arthur features gay wedding

In “Mr Ratburn and the Special Someone,” Arthur and friends Francine, Buster and Muffy go to the wedding of Mr Ratburn and his partner, Patrick, a chocolatier.

In a statement, McKenzie said, “Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire.

“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.”

In 2005, APT also refused to show an episode of Arthur in which Buster, a rabbit, visited a girl who had two mothers.

Anti-LGBT evangelical group One Million Moms called for the cancellation of Arthur over the episode.

The group claims that more than 18,000 members have signed its petition calling on PBS to “cancel this controversial content immediately.”

The pre-written letter states: “I am outraged that PBS Kids would use their children’s network to promote same sex marriage. It is offensive to me and my family that the network would glorify the homosexual lifestyle.

“Until PBS Kids agrees to no longer air this episode or others with same sex couples, then conservative families including my own will have no choice but to discontinue watching PBS Kids Network, even avoiding previews, commercials, and reruns.

“You will not have my support as long as you continue to veer away from family-friendly entertainment.”

Arthur began in 1996.

More: Arthur, same sex marriage

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