Episode of children's show 'Arthur' featuring same-sex marriage pulled from Alabama public TV
In the nixed episode, which aired elsewhere in the US last week, Arthur the aardvark and friends attend a same-sex wedding for their elementary school teacher, Mr. Ratburn.
Though the episode was celebrated in some quarters for imparting lessons of tolerance and diversity, the Alabama Public Television (APT) network saw matters differently, opting to broadcast a rerun instead.Also on rt.com 'Arthur' character comes out, FINALLY giving LGBT cartoon rat population representation on kid's TV
An official at the network said APT was merely looking out for parents.
“Parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision,” APT’s director of programming Mike McKenzie told AL.com, adding “although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards.”
“We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for Arthur also watch the program,” McKenzie said.
Reactions online were somewhat polarized. Some suggested the program would “indoctrinate children.”
The decision also triggered an intense backlash.
Because THIS is the biggest threat to Alabama school kids. Not the fact that they have one of the worst performing schools in the nation. https://t.co/eh4tstoLii— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) May 21, 2019
"Teaching tolerance is [your] job!" one user tweeted.
Alabama Public Television refuses to air 'Arthur' episode with gay wedding. Alabama should join Saudi Arabia or Yemen. They need to leave the USA. https://t.co/p5LdrTnKSv— Laura Whinfield (@LauraWhinfield) May 21, 2019
While others took a more comical approach.
"I never thought I'd be going to battle for a gay rat wedding, but here we are"Yep, here we are. Arthur: Alabama Public Television bans gay wedding episode - https://t.co/Omn9AmMREM— Jacob Hatfield (@J_P_Hat) May 21, 2019
in the big wedding episode, Arthur the aardvark pledges fealty to Farrakhan— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) May 21, 2019
Ok, that one didn't actually happen.
One user took the opportunity to fact check her fellow commenters.
“Ima let y’all continue with the gay cartoon wedding debate, but can y’all stop calling Arthur a RAT... he is an aardvark.”
Last week’s controversy isn’t APT’s first run-in with Arthur. In 2005, the network skipped another episode which revealed one of the animated characters had two moms, arguing at the time to AL.com “we basically have a trust with parents about our programming. This program doesn’t fit into that.”
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