PBS show “Arthur” featured teacher Mr. Ratburn coming out as gay and getting married but kids in Alabama won’t be able to see the episode.
The 22nd season premiere of the show featured Mr. Ratburn walking down the aisle with another male character.
"PBS KIDS programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation," the network said in a statement. "We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS KIDS every day."
The move is a departure from PBS’ past decisions. A decade earlier, PBS pulled an episode of the children’s show “Postcards from Buster,” after then-Education Secretary Margaret Spellings complained.
“Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the life-styles portrayed in this episode,” Spellings wrote to PBS. The episode was never aired.
Alabama Public Television refuses to air episode:
Alabama Public Television said in a statement that the affiliate will not air the 22nd season premiere. The network aired a re-run in place of the new episode.
Mike Mckenzie, the director of programming at APT, told AL.com that the network will not air the episode 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 told the outlet. “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.”
APT similarly pulled an episode of Arthur in 2005 when a character visited a girl who had two mothers.
“'Our feeling is that we basically have a trust with parents about our programming. This program doesn't fit into that,'' Alabama Public Television's executive then-director Allan Pizzato told AL.com in 2005.
The episode is available for free online at pbs.org.