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Alabama Public Television pulled 'Arthur' episode over gay wedding plot

'Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years'

A scene from the PBS cartoon "Arthur." (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

Alabama Public Television did not air an episode of the cartoon "Arthur" last week because the plot focused on a same-sex wedding between two male characters, according to AL.com.

The episode, titled "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone," did not fit into the values Alabama Public Television wanted to expose potentially unsupervised children to, said the station's director of programming Mike McKenzie in an email to AL.com.

McKenzie wrote:

"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, Alabama Public Television opted not to show an episode that included one character visiting someone who had two mothers, because it "doesn't fit into" the trust the station has built with parents in the state, according to the then-director of programming.

The episode "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone" can be viewed on the PBS website, but Alabama Public Television has no plans to air it in the future. APT ran a re-run instead of the episode when it aired nationwide on May 13.

PBS notified stations in April about the episode due to "possible viewer concerns about the content of the program." McKenzie felt that, since most parents would not know about it in advance, it was best not to air the episode.

"The vast majority of parents will not have heard about the content, whether they agree with it or not," McKenzie told NBC News. "Because of this, we felt it would be a violation of trust to broadcast the episode."

(H/T The Hill)

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