Reading Time: 2 minutes

Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert, best known to readers of this site for erecting an unconstitutional Ten Commandments monument outside the State Capitol, wants to defund Sesame Street because a gay man will appear on the iconic children’s show.

Actor Billy Porter visited the set last week to film an upcoming episode, and he and the show posted pictures of him in his memorable Oscars tuxedo dress.

It’s not clear what Porter will actually say or do on the show. But the idea of kids seeing a man in a dress has deeply offended Rapert, who can’t handle children learning about anything outside his conservative Christian worldview. He asked people on Facebook if they wanted “taxpayer dollars” promoting “the radical LGBTQ agenda.”

He said in comments that he could “pass a bill to cutoff all funding for the rebroadcast of PBS programming through [Arkansas’ PBS affiliate] AETN and also stop all funding for AETN altogether if necessary.”

In other words, he would prevent children from learning anything from the show because they invited Porter to tape a segment. That’s the sort of politician he is: A man whose goal is to make Arkansas’ children as ignorant as he is.

Rapert claims he supports PBS in general but thinks showcasing a gay man who doesn’t dress the way he expects amount to the show getting “politicized.” He’d prefer to erase LGBTQ people entirely — something he doesn’t think is political at all.

It’s bad enough a bigot like this is a state senator. But this is a guy who’s already announced a run for lieutenant governor in 2022. He’s showing us what he’d do with more power: He’d punish any attempt to normalize LGBTQ people.

AETN, by the way. is the same network that chose not to air an episode of Arthur that showed a same-sex marriage. So it’s not like the people who run it are that far from Rapert’s perspective. But that’s apparently not good enough for his brand of hate.

(Thanks to Dawn for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.