Mr. Ratburn Is Gay
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Mr. Ratburn Is Gay or Gay Rat Wedding refers to an episode of PBS Kids animated show Arthur in which Arthur's teacher Mr. Ratburn gets married to a man.
On May 13th, 2019, the season 22 premiere of Arthur was aired on PBS Kids. That day, YouTuber Satan Posted This uploaded a clip of Arthur's teacher Mr. Ratburn getting married (shown below). The clip has gained over 36,600 views in a day.
That same day, Twitter user @WOLFNOlR shared screenshots of the episode and announced that "MR RATBURN IS GAY HELLO !! HE GOT MARRIED !!" (shown below). The tweet garnered over 113,200 likes and 31,000 retweets in a day.
On May 13th, 2019, Twitter users began reacting to the announcement. Twitter user @tusktwo tweeted, "deep down didn't we all know mr. ratburn was gay when we found out he was in a band that looked like this!" (shown below, left). the tweet accumulated over 1,100 likes in a day. Other Twitter users agreed that they suspected Mr. Ratburn was gay. Twitter user @ChristiTrottie shared a synopsis of the episode by tweeting, "This episode was wild too, Arthur and his friends thought he was marrying this pushy woman and tried to break them up only to find out the lady was his sister and Mr. Ratburn was marrying the guy from the chocolate shop they went to earlier in the episode" (shown below, right). The tweet gained over 33,700 likes in a day.
That same day, Twitter user @BabyLamb5 shared a screenshot of a negative comment regarding the episode saying that it spreads LGBTQ propaganda without warning, but then immediately clarified that the screenshot does not represent his personal views on the episode and Arthur as a whole (shown below, left). Many Twitter users drew fan art of the couple and shared their creations. Twitter user @goblinfriend's drawing gained over 3,000 likes in a day (shown below, right). In a statement made to The Daily Dot, PBS Kids said, "We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day."
Alabama Public Television Refusal to Air
Alabama Public Television (APT) refused to air the episode on its May 13th airdate, opting to show a rerun of the show instead. Mike McKenzie, director of programming at APT stated:
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.
Alabama resident Misty Souder told AL.com, "I just want (my daughter) to be aware. There’s too much going on not to stand up for stuff, even if it’s Arthur. I never thought I’d be going to battle for a gay rat wedding, but here we are.” The phrase "gay rat wedding" was used in the Twitter headline about the article, which caused it to see use on Twitter in memes after the article was published. For example, Twitter user @spatterdocks parodied the Billy Idol song "White Wedding" with "Rat Wedding," gaining over 680 retweets and 2,300 likes (shown below, left). User @helen posted a Black Betty parody of the phrase, gaining over 470 retweets and 3,200 likes (shown below, right).
Threat to Defund PBS
On June 24th, Colorado Republican Representative Doug Lamborn published an opinion in The Daily Signal, which criticized PBS' airing of the episode. Additionally, he announced that he would be "reintroducing" legislation that would defund PBS. He wrote:
"Taxpayers now know with complete certainty that the goal of the PBS cartoon is to impart social liberalism to children. Enough is enough. It is time to stop sending our hard-earned tax money to support programming that is objectionable to many Americans. That’s why I’m reintroducing a bill to cut off all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS."
In an interview with CBC, Arthur creator Marc Brown, The Daily Dot notes, praised the episode (shown below). The author said, "It made me feel great that we were able to do something that was really helpful to so many people. Art reflects life, life reflects art, and kids need to see what’s happening in the world."
Brown continued, "It makes me very sad that these young families are not well represented, or hardly represented at all in our media, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. One of the [episode] ideas we had was a teacher getting married, and the more we talked about it, the more we saw it as an opportunity for a learning experience, and a great way to represent another part of life that so seldom gets portrayed on television."
 The Daily Dot – Mr. Ratburn Is Gay
 Twitter – ChristiTrottie
 Twitter- GoblinFriend
 AL – Alabama Public Television refuses to air Arthur episode with gay wedding
 Twitter – @SJSchauer
 The Daily Dot – Republican congressman wants to defund PBS over the gay rat wedding
 The Daily Signal – PBS Is Indoctrinating Our Kids. It’s Time to Defund Them.
 Pink News – Republican Doug Lamborn seeks to defund PBS over gay Arthur episode
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May 14, 2019 at 12:04PM EDT
May 22, 2019 at 03:34PM EDT
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