Alabama is in the eye of the storm yet again after the Alabama Public Television (APT) refused to air PBS’ Arthur special that featured Mr. Ratburn marrying his male partner. It seems that the broadcasting outlet did not want to promote gay marriage.
— A Mitch Super PAC (@Lifeisamitch) May 14, 2019
According to Mike Mckenzie, Alabama Public Television director of programming, “Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs 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.”
Pushback from conservative Christian groups could have led to APT nixing the broadcast. One Million Moms, a subgroup of American Family Association, started a petition to get the wedding special pulled shortly after learning of PBS’ plans to air the episode. Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham and leader of Samaritan’s Purse charity, also condemned the wedding special.
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) May 16, 2019
“Why should our government be financing PBS programming that promotes what the Bible calls sin,” Graham asked in a tweet. “I think many viewers may be surprised and disappointed in this content decision,” he added. “I hope everyone will rise up and clearly tell PBS that they do not want to see this kind of programming slipped in to try to influence the hearts and minds of our children and grandchildren.”
— Q. Allan Brocka (@allanbrocka) May 13, 2019
Even with the harsh criticism coming from conservatives and some of those on the far-right side of the political sphere, many praised the Arthur wedding special. “It means a lot to our kids to see families like their own represented in the media,” one supporter tweeted. “Arthur is hella woke,” another social media fan shared.
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In honor of Mr. Ratburn and Patrick, our teams at @theknot and @weddingwire want to celebrate all couples and their special someones. We've created a charity wedding registry to benefit all couples and members of the LGBTQ+ communities in Alabama, which has banned the season 22 premiere episode of #Arthur. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to @equalityalabama with hopes to protect and defend their civil rights. Head to the #linkinbio to donate. ❤️ (And as a reminder, both The Knot and WeddingWire do not tolerate discrimination of any kind on our platforms.) #theknot #weddingwire#loveislove #opentoall
The first episode of Arthur aired in 1996. The recent wedding special helped to round out 22 years of the series on PBS. Stay tuned for more celebrity family news!