Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed a bill last week that would have funded the Oklahoma Education Television Authority (OETA) – which includes funding for the state’s only Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) – through 2026.
“When you go through all of the programing that’s happening and the indoctrination and over-sexualization of our children, it’s just really problematic,” Stitt, a Republican, said in an interview with Fox News. “It doesn’t line up with Oklahoma values.”
Stitt’s office cited examples of children’s programs aired on PBS affiliates with lesbian characters, and a PBS Newshour segment in which a couple discuss how “gender-affirming” care was beneficial to their child.
The Oklahoma governor is not the only one concerned with PBS. Citizens Defending Freedom, a nonprofit organization that advocates for transparency in government, released a statement about one of PBS’ latest resources: “Understanding LGBTQ+ Identity: A Toolkit for Educators.”
“PBS is clearly engaged in promoting inappropriate LGBTQ+ and Critical Race Theory propaganda to our children,” said Citizens Defending Freedom’s Chief Communications Officer Kristen Huber in a statement. “Their ‘LGBTQ+ Identity Kit is clearly a partisan effort to brainwash teachers and students, sowing seeds of division and hatred in an environment that should seek to protect our children, not use them as political pawns. We’re calling on the federal government to immediately strip PBS of its funding.”
The organization said 15% of PBS’ total funding comes from taxpayers.
In a May 2 article published on MSNBC.com, writer Ja’han Jones depicted Stitt’s veto as a “crusade against “Clifford the Big Red Dog.’” Jones said Stitt’s issues with PBS are “just as bigoted as one might imagine,” and amount to “nothing more than anti-LGBTQ government censorship.”
Last week, Stitt also banned sex reassignment procedures for minors in Oklahoma, including irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies.
The state’s legislature can override the governor’s veto with a two-thirds majority in both chambers.