The season premiere of Arthur, which featured Mr. Ratburn coming out as gay and marrying his male partner, had Twitter abuzz as people praised the show for its open-mindedness. However, not everyone is cheering—like the Alabama TV station that’s now refusing to air the episode.
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television (APT) for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” Mike McKenzie, director of programming at APT, told NBC News on Monday. “More importantly—although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterward—parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision.”
Adding that some of their viewers are children younger than Arthur‘s target audience, McKenzie said the station believed it would be “a violation of trust” to broadcast the episode, titled ‘Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone.’
In the segment, Arthur and his friends are excited to learn that their teacher Mr. Ratburn is getting married—and even more so when they find out that he isn’t marrying uptight Patty as they expected but instead the friendly town chocolatier, Patrick.
When the episode originally aired on May 13 across the country, APT showed a rerun of Arthur instead. And it isn’t the first time that the station has refused to air an episode of the animated series. It previously chose not to broadcast an episode featuring Buster, one of Arthur’s friends, and his two moms.
While there is a petition on Change.org to convince APT to show the controversial episode, in the meantime, parents can find all Arthur episodes (including the one in question) on PBS’ website.
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