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Ryan W. Miller of USA Today wrote:
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 from Kenya.
The NRA did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment.
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 Development Goals.
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. #AllAboardForGlobalGoals https://t.co/mUrmYmPkgA pic.twitter.com/aIdnCnPgLL— Thomas & Friends (@ThomasFriends) September 7, 2018
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.
Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
Dana Loesch is the worst of the worst. What's wrong with having diversity unless you're... no, I better not say it. I'll likely be accused of REVERSE racism.
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