NRA depicts children's show characters in KKK hoods to criticize cast diversity

Lewis Collier
September 14, 2018

The divisive gun organization's spokeswoman Dana Loesch, who was hosting her show Relentless, wasn't happy that two female characters, Rebecca and Nia, are joining Thomas, Percy, and the gang, declaring the decision "horrible" and launching on what can only be described as a freakish rant as an image splashed on the screen of the famous trains wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods.

NRA TV host Dana Loesch appeared on the association's TV show, "Relentless" and slammed "Thomas & Friends" for partnering with the United Nations to increase diversity on the program.

On Saturday's CBS This Morning, Thomas & Friends senior producer Micaela Winter said, "We've always had female characters, but bringing them to the forefront of the show is really important".

She went on to say she's "really, really struggling to understand how in the world there isn't any diversity in any of this", before adopting a different tone, as the segment switched to an image of the children's trains wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods.

Nia, a little train painted with an African-inspired motif, will be voiced by English actress Yvonne Grundy, who was born in Kenya, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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'That's where it get really unusual to me, ' Loesch said. Seriously. One of those trains, Nia, will be from Kenya to add ethnic diversity to the show. "Because they all have grey faces".

She said: "Am I to understand this entire time that Thomas and his trains where white?" How do you bring ethnic diversity? "And - which that by the way, that's where it gets really unusual to me because I've looked at 'Thomas and Friends, ' at their pictures, and I see gray and blue. Because they're trains, they don't even have skin pigmentation!" And the burning train tracks.

Loesch continued: 'OK, fine, fair point. "Thomas the Tank Engine has been a blight on race relations for far too long. Clearly this is overdue, right?" Suddenly an image of Thomas and his friends in Ku Klux Klan hoods on burning train tracks flashes on screen. Awdry published a series of Thomas the Tank Engine books in 1945 and later, in 1984, the first animated version of the books was created, narrated by Beatle Ringo Starr.

The show airs on Nick Jr. and will premiere the new characters in its upcoming 22nd season in which Thomas will leave his fictional home of Sodor and travel the world to countries such as India, China and Australia where he will meet local trains, include female characters.

Loesch's comments "echoed complaints by some that the additions amounted to politically correct pandering", wrote The New York Times.

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