Alabama Public Television has chosen not to air the season 22 premiere of “Arthur” which features the same-sex wedding of the beloved elementary school teacher Mr. Ratburn.
The network came under fire Monday after APT Director of Programming, Mike McKenzie, released a statement to reveal why they’d chosen to air a previous episode in the time slot instead.
Speaking to People, “Arthur” creator Marc Brown said he was “very disappointed” by the network’s decision.
“I’m really proud of that episode. And I will defend it to anybody who wants to talk about it,” he said. “Why shouldn’t their teacher marry another man? We all know people who are gay, who are trans, and it’s something that is socially acceptable. Why is there this discomfort that it takes a leap into our national media?”
He added, “I don’t want children or people who are different to feel excluded. That’s not the kind of world we want to live in. And we want children to be educated so they can see there’s not just one type of family. Everyone should feel represented. I think we did that with ‘Arthur’.”
According to AL.com, McKenzie explained of the ep, titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone”: “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.”
The episode aired nationwide in the U.S. on May 13.
APT previously refused to broadcast a 2005 episode of the “Arthur” spin-off “Postcards From Buster”. The ep in question saw Buster the rabbit visiting a girl who had two moms.
Meanwhile, Alabama continues to hit headlines following Wednesday’s news of the state’s bill banning abortions.