Popular with younger children, the cartoon Arthur recently saw one of its episodes censored by local television in Alabama (United States). This news comes after the same state adopted the country's most restrictive abortion law.
Alabama has not finished putting its name out there. This American state has received widespread criticism for having ratified the country's most restrictive abortion law on May 15th. Now, its local television network has to wage war on LGBT people, by censoring an episode of the cartoon Arthur. Why? A gay couple getting married was featured.
A teacher’s marriage
In an episode entitled ‘Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,’ Mr. Ratburn, Arthur's class teacher, can be seen getting married to his partner, a chocolatier named Patrick. The production of the episode does not make any judgments or debate the 'issue' of same-sex marriage, instead just showing a normalised same-sex relationship without comment.
Broadcast on May 13th to open the 22nd season of the popular cartoon, the episode was praised by the LGBT community on social networks. But the Alabama public television station (named APT) decided not to broadcast the cartoon, after being notified by PBS (the channel that produces Arthur) about the scene.
‘While we encourage parents to watch APT with their children and discuss with them what they have seen, we know that some parents leave their children alone in front of the television. There are also children much younger than the audience we are targeting who are watching TV,’ said APT's Program Director Mike Mckenzie.
Mckenzie did not wish to elaborate further on the reasons for this censorship but confirmed that the episode would not be broadcast in the future.
Alabama, an ultra conservative state
Alabama is one of the most conservative states in the United States: 44% of the state's inhabitants identify themselves as ‘conservative,’ according to a 2018 Gallup poll.
Moreover, this is not the first time that APT has censored cartoons, and they seem to have a particular problem with Arthur. In 2005, the TV network banned an episode from its programming because it showed a lesbian couple.
Meanwhile, Arthur's creator Marc Brown told CBC: 'I'm sure I'm not any different than millions of other families around the world that have people that we love who are gay, who are young families raising children, and it makes me very sad that these young families are not really well-represented or hardly represented at all in our media. And I don't think that's a good thing... You know, art reflects life, and life reflects art, and I think kids need to see what's happening in the world. I would hate to live in a world which is sanitized and censored, and that's really something I can't get behind.'
Take a look at the video above to see the beautiful and important scene for yourself...