Alabama Is Censoring Mr. Ratburn’s Gay Wedding on “Arthur”

Alabama Public Television felt airing the episode would be a "violation of trust" to its audience.

Remember Mr. Ratburn, the Arthur character who married his husband in a recent episode of the beloved PBS series? Alabama Public Television (APT) has deemed the same-sex wedding ceremony inappropriate for its audience and refuses to air the new episode.

A rep from APT confirmed to NBC News that the May 13 episode, titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” would not be airing in Alabama.

Apparently, PBS sent alerts to public broadcasting networks in certain areas of the country, including Alabama, before the episode premiered. Given “possible viewer concerns about the content of the program,” APT declined to air the episode, showing a re-run instead.

PBS

“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate, and inspire,” Mike McKenzie, director of programming at APT, told NBC News. “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.”

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

This isn’t the first time APT has censored an episode of Arthur. According to Alabama.com, the network also refused to air a 2005 episode featuring a character with two moms.

Meanwhile, the May 2019 episode in question was widely praised by LGBTQ advocacy groups, including GLAAD, which sent out a tweet congratulating the newlyweds on tying the knot.

Check out the full episode for yourself at PBS.org.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella