MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Public Television didn’t air the Season 22 premiere of “Arthur” and has no plans to in the future.
The episode of children’s show “Arthur” is titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone” and features the same-sex wedding of the main characters’ teacher.
Mike McKenzie, the director of programming and public information of APT, said WGBH and PBS notified APT in mid-April about the episode, and after viewing it, APT Executive Director Roy Clem decided to not air it.
“The storyline about Mr. Ratburn’s marriage conveys a positive message that many parents feel is entirely appropriate,” McKenzie said. “Many other parents disagree, either because their children are too young, or because of their beliefs. The vast majority of parents will not have heard about the content, whether they agree with it or not, and our greatest concern was taking away these parents’ choice.”
McKenzie said the episode can be watched at pbs.org.
He didn’t answer whether APT has ever decided not to air a TV show episode in the past, but according to the Associated Press, the station had previously pulled an episode of “Arthur” in 2005 when a character had two mothers.
Maria Vera Whelan with PBS said stations are independently run and make local schedule decisions for programs.
PBS previously released a statement about the “Arthur” episode, saying “PBS KIDS programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation. We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS KIDS every day.”