Bradley K. Sperman
2018-09-14 00:09:52 UTC
Using a jarring image to blast increased diversity on a
children's TV show, a National Rifle Association online show
depicted characters from "Thomas & Friends" in white, Ku Klux
Klan-style hoods on burning train tracks.
Host of NRA TV's "Relentless," Dana Loesch went after the
classic children's character Thomas The Tank Engine after its
maker, Mattel, joined forces with the United Nations in efforts
to increase gender diversity and representation on the program
and include new characters from around the globe.
Loesch, a conservative spokeswomen for the gun rights group,
specifically called out one new character Nia, a steam engine
"That's where it gets really strange to me," Loesch says on
Friday's episode. "Am I to understand this entire time that
Thomas and his trains were white? Because they all have gray
faces. How do you bring ethnic diversity? I mean they had to
paint what I guess they thought was some sort of African pattern
on the side of Nia's engine."
The program cut to an image with three trains wearing white
hoods and tracks on fire. "Fair, I get it," Loesch sarcastically
says. "Thomas the Tank Engine has been a blight on race
relations for far too long. Clearly this is overdue."
The NRA did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for
Mattel announced Friday that "Thomas & Friends," a Nick Jr.
show, would add characters to its newest season from around the
world and partner with the UN to promote its Sustainable
Thomas & Friends
We've teamed up with the @UN to teach families about the
Sustainable Development Goals! We hope to inspire the next
generation of global citizens, and start meaningful
conversations and learning between children and parents.
9:42 AM - Sep 7, 2018
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In the new season, Thomas will travel from his fictional home
Sodor for the first time in the series to visit China, India and
Australia, Mattel said. More female characters will also be
represented, the company added.
"This change will deepen the brand's engagement with girls who
represent over 40% of the show's viewership and provide a strong
message of gender equality to the young audience," Mattel said
in a statement.