NRA TV Show Slams Diversity in 'Thomas & Friends,' Puts KKK Hoods on Characters

Dana Loesch - 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference - February 22, 2018 - Getty- ONE TIME USE ONLY- H 2018

The beloved British show's move to add more female and international characters elicited a jarring rebuke from NRA TV host Dana Loesch.

Attempts to add more female and international characters to the beloved children's show Thomas & Friends has earned a bizarre rebuke from NRA TV's Dana Loesch, who slammed the producers for pushing diversity and superimposed Ku Klux Klan white hoods on the characters during a segment on her show Relentless.

Producers behind Thomas & Friends revealed last month that the show, which is broadcast in 161 countries and territories around the world, would have a new theme tune, more international storylines and introduce two new female characters, Rebecca and Nia, with the latter hailing from Kenya and voiced by Kenyan-born English actress Yvonne Grundy. 

Loesch, who is a spokesperson for the gun-advocacy organization, described the diversity move as "awful" and "horrible" in a rambling monologue that took the show to task for gender and race politics and making its next stop "Virtue Town."

"Thomas the Tank is now bringing gender balance to the show by adding girl trains. Seriously. One of those trains, Nia, will be from Kenya to add ethnic diversity to the show. And — which that by the way, that’s where it gets really strange to me because I’ve looked at Thomas & Friends, at their pictures, and I see gray and blue. 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?" Loesch said. 

She added: "I mean, I’m looking at this picture and I’m really, really struggling to understand how in the world there isn’t any diversity in any of this. Oh, was it because, 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," she said as an image of the Thomas & Friends characters wearing KKK hoods appeared onscreen. 

The characters, books, shows and spinoffs of the Thomas the Tank Engine franchise have been a source of delight for children around the world since the little engine debuted in 1946. The inclusion of gender-balanced, multicultural characters was the biggest refresh in the British franchise's 73-year history.

"We know we've got a show that means a lot to young audiences, and really what we're trying to do is just bring that show into the 21st century and make it relatable for that young audience," Thomas & Friends producer Ian McCue told CBS This Morning