It was recently revealed that a character from popular children’s PBS show Arthur is gay and will be marrying his boyfriend in the show’s 22nd season.
The character, Mr Ratburn, is Arthur’s teacher. The season premiere aired on 13 May and this LGBTI plotline was heralded as a groundbreaking first for the show.
However, not everyone is thrilled about this type of representation… especially in a children’s show.
One such person is Sebastian Gorka, a former Breitbart editor who currently hosts his own radio show, America First.
According to Gorka, Arthur’s programming is part of a ‘conspiratorial left-wing ideology’ which he linked back to the French Reign of Terror.
‘Civil society doesn’t exist, friendship doesn’t exist, family doesn’t exist,’ Gorka stated. ‘Only permanent revolution.” He said that Arthur was trying to change the idea of the family unit.’
He went on to ask the following rhetorical questions:
‘Did you have any questions about there being a culture war, ladies and gentlemen? Did you have any doubt in your mind?’
Another Conservative commentator who was not happy about this episode of Arthur was Franklin Graham. Graham is the right-wing preacher who recently said that presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg should ‘repent’ for being gay.
Graham took to Facebook to criticize Arthur for ‘promoting the LGBTQ agenda.’
‘Do your children or grandchildren watch the cartoon “Arthur”? I hope not. This PBS animated series is promoting the LGBTQ agenda,’ Graham wrote. ‘In a new episode, Arthur’s male third grade teacher gets married—to another male character. During the wedding, one of the students exclaims, “It’s a brand new world!” I’ll say—but not for the better.’
‘PBS receives government funding—why should our government be financing programming that promotes behavior the Bible says is sinful? I sure don’t want my tax dollars going toward that [and] I think many viewers may be surprised and disappointed in this content decision. 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.’
Back in 2005, PBS pulled an episode of Arthur spin-off Postcards From Buster. In the episode, Arthur’s friend Buster visits lesbian aunts in Vermont. The episode’s removal was at the request of former Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings. Series creator Marc Brown was ‘disappointed’ by this decision.
‘What we are trying to do in the series is connect kids with other kids by reflecting their lives,’ Brown said of the 2005 ordeal. ‘In some episodes, as in the Vermont one, we are validating children who are seldom validated. We believe that “Postcards From Buster” does this in a very natural way — and, as always, from the point of view of children.’