Incoming Education Secretary Margaret Spellings on Tuesday denounced PBS for spending public money on a show with lesbian characters, arguing that many parents would not want their children exposed to such lifestyles. The nonprofit network announced that it will not air the episode of “Postcards for Buster” in question, nor will the episode be distributed to its 349 stations, reports the Associated Press.
Amidst speculation that Spellings’ accusations had played a determining role in the debate, Lea Sloan, vice president of media relations at PBS, defended the network’s judgment. “Ultimately, our decision was based on the fact that we recognize this is a sensitive issue, and we wanted to make sure that parents had an opportunity to introduce this subject to their children in their own time,” reports the Associated Press.
According to The Boston Globe, the much contested episode, “Sugartime!,” features a cartoon rabbit named Buster’s trip to Vermont, a state well known for its recognition of same-sex civil unions, where he encounters a lesbian couple and their three children. Despite the PBS decision, the Boston public television station that produces the show, WGBH, plans to air the episode on March 23 and will make it available to other stations. ”The show’s goal is to reflect the lives of American kids,” said Jeanne Hopkins, a spokeswoman for the station. ”It’s not meant to be political,” reports The Boston Globe. At least one member station, WNET in New York, intends to air the episode.