By Janelle Griffith
Alabama Public Television chose not to air PBS’ recent “Arthur” episode that featured a same-sex marriage.
During the animated series’ 22nd season premiere, titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” Arthur’s third-grade teacher, Mr. Ratburn, marries Patrick, a chocolatier, at a wedding attended by his students, Arthur, Francine, Buster and Muffy.
Mike McKenzie, director of programming at APT, told NBC News on Monday it did not broadcast the episode and showed a re-run instead.
Mckenzie said the network has no plans to air it at a later date.
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” Mckenzie said in a statement. “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.”
McKenzie also said many parents do not believe the subject covered in “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone” is appropriate for their children.
“The vast majority of parents will not have heard about the content, whether they agree with it or not,” he said. “Because of this, we felt it would be a violation of trust to broadcast the episode.”
“Arthur” debuted in 1996 and follows the adventures of its title character, his friends and family.
In 2005, Alabama Public Television pulled an episode in which the character Buster visited a girl who had two mothers, according to AL.com.
“’Our feeling is that we basically have a trust with parents about our programming,” then-executive director Allan Pizzato said at the time. “This program doesn’t fit into that.”