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The Arkansas Educational Television Network pulled the recent season premiere of the children’s animated program “Arthur” from its primary channel because of the episode’s theme of same-sex marriage, officials said.

The station’s schedule showed it ran a rerun instead of the premiere episode.

The premiere episode, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” aired nationally on May 13, showing Arthur attending the wedding of his teacher and the teacher’s partner.

Julie Thomas, AETN’s director of marketing, said the station made the decision not to air it on the main channel after previewing the episode.

“AETN was notified in April by PBS and producing station WGBH about the episode,” Thomas said. “We previewed the episode in question because content decisions that affect our smallest viewers and their parents are a major concern for us.

“While ideally parents watch our programming with their children and discuss it with them afterwards, the reality is that many children, some of them younger than age four, watch when a parent is not in the room. In realizing that many parents may not have been aware of the topics of the episode beforehand, we made the decision not to air it on our main channel.”

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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