Following the news that series 22 of childhood cartoon Arthur featured a same-sex wedding, Alabama Public Television has refused to air the episode.
The premiere sees Arthur's third grade teacher Mr Ratburn coming out as gay and getting married.
Mike Mckenzie, director of programming at APT, said the channel was notified by WGBH and PBS in mid-April about the episode entitled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone” and decided to show a re-run instead of the episode.
Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programmes 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.
This marks the second time that APT has pulled an episode of Arthur for including same-sex couples. In 2005, they pulled an episode of where Buster, a bunny, visited a girl who had two mothers.
Though they aren't the only ones to object to the program. Anti-LGBT+ evangelical group One Million Moms also slammed PBS.
The group claims that more than 18,000 members have signed its petition calling on PBS to “cancel this controversial content immediately.”
A letter written by the group states:
I am outraged that PBS Kids would use their children’s network to promote same sex marriage. It is offensive to me and my family that the network would glorify the homosexual lifestyle.
Until PBS Kids agrees to no longer air this episode or others with same sex couples, then conservative families including my own will have no choice but to discontinue watching PBS Kids Network, even avoiding previews, commercials, and reruns.
You will not have my support as long as you continue to veer away from family-friendly entertainment.
Though, thankfully, Arthur creator Marc Brown says that the response to the episode was positive overall.
He said to Canada’s CBC:
It made me feel great that we were able to do something that was really helpful to so many people. Art reflects life, life reflects art, and kids needs to see what’s happening in the world.
I’d hate to live in a world that was sanitised and censored. That’s something I can’t get behind.