Alabama Public Television (APT) pulled the episode of “Arthur” that premiered last week because the show’s plot centered on the kids’ teacher, Mr. Ratburn, marrying a man.
Mike Mckenzie, director of programming at APT, suggested to AL.com the episode was not something most parents in Alabama would want their children to be watching.
Mr. Ratburn from the beloved children’s show “Arthur” comes out as gay in the season 22 premiere of the show.pic.twitter.com/RdxSFXt3sG
— Pop Crave (@PopCraveNet) May 13, 2019
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” he wrote 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.”
Mckenzie also pointed out children younger than the “target” audience for “Arthur” often watch the show.
This isn’t the first time Alabama has declined to broadcast an episode of a children’s show depicting a same-sex relationship.
In 2005, the spinoff show “Postcards from Buster” featured an episode in which a little girl showed off photos of her mother and her female partner. Buster, a character from “Arthur,” was visiting Vermont, one of the few states at the time that allowed civil unions.
APT did not air that episode. Ultimately, PBS pulled distribution of the controversial episode from the roughly 350 affiliate stations the publicly funded media organization had at the time.
This comes on the heels of Alabama’s recent passing of a pro-life law considered to be one of the strongest in the nation, receiving praise from pro-life groups.