NRATV went straight for ratings during a recent segment blasting the Nick Jr. kids’ show Thomas & Friends for diversifying its characters.
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 bizarre rant as an image splashed on the screen of the famous trains wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods. Loesch was especially angry that one of the female characters is from Kenya.
“Thomas the Tank is now bringing gender balance to the show by adding girl trains. Seriously,” she snipped about the preschool show, which she dubbed “creepy.” Loesch ranted that the show doesn’t need “ethnic diversity” when it “literally has no ethnicities because they’re trains. …
“I’m really, really struggling to understand how in the world there isn’t any diversity in any of this,” she said as the controversial image of the trains, in KKK hoods, on burning tracks appeared. “Oh, I see it — it was the white hoods. And the burning train tracks. OK, fine, fair point. Fair. I get it. Thomas the Tank Engine has been a blight on race relations for far too long. Clearly this is overdue. Right? Seriously? With trains?”
Mattel, owner of the Thomas the Tank Engine brand, issued a statement to the New York Times saying it had “always been a priority” for the company to promote kindness and inclusivity. “We are not associated with images that promote hate and denounce any images of our brands that are being used to convey a message not in line with the values of the company.”
Many of the people who saw the segment were confused by the National Rifle Association’s need to weigh in on children’s programming when it has absolutely nothing — zero — to do with guns. It seemed unnecessarily hateful to many and was called “disturbing as hell” and “sick” on social media. Director Judd Apatow called the group “a hateful nightmare” with “dumb, vicious people” and urged people to “vote in November.”
This is the NRA’s totally reasonable, super clever, and not a little bit racist response to a Nigerian train character being introduced.
Because… that character existing means…Thomas was in the KKK before? Or something?
Ok, I give up. This is disturbing as hell. pic.twitter.com/E7Yb9GSOVk
— Mike (@MaskedBrute) September 12, 2018
The NRA literally has gone off the…rails. https://t.co/3bWuZkqXT8
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) September 13, 2018
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) September 13, 2018
@NRATV @NRA are you somehow aware that Thomas as you see it is a dubbed American version of a British TV show so your patriotic arguments are invalid? Also your animation is awful and your message childish…. ironically.
— Alan J Fisher (@AlanJFisher0) September 13, 2018
what does this have to do with rifles https://t.co/YHznI2ESLW
— Dad (@fivefifths) September 13, 2018
I wish I could've been in the meeting where the NRA folks were fuming about Thomas the Train meeting women/people from other cultures, and then someone won the meeting by suggesting that they just put all the trains in KKK hoods.
— Levi Homstad (@HomstadP) September 13, 2018
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) September 12, 2018
White people are at it again. https://t.co/e0Klh3rTYH
— Big Jus™️ (@MrFattMonkey) September 13, 2018
News that the Thomas franchise, which was created more than 70 years ago, would be modernizing was announced a year ago and lauded by many. The series, which began in the 1980s — getting a boost from Ringo Starr, who narrated the original British version at the start — has many young female fans, who make up about half of its fanbase. While it has global appeal, airing in 160 countries and territories in 50 languages, the program can definitely can use an update. For instance, the Thomas & Friends ABC Book says, “M is for men. The men who drive the engine stand inside the cab,” but there is no “W is for women,” “G is for girls,” or “F is for females,” making it “O is for outdated.”
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. … Having that real kind of range and diversity is important so that everyone can watch the show and think, that person is like me, that character is like me, and feel represented.”
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) September 8, 2018
The Kenyan character, Nia, is voiced by Yvonne Grundy, a Kenyan-born English actress, and the character was developed in partnership with the United Nations.
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