A pub in Australia is facing fierce criticism after promoting a supposed ‘midget-tossing’ game at an event themed around The Wolf Of Wall Street.
The Great Northern Hotel in Newcastle had planned the event – named ‘Wolf of Watt Street’ on account of the venue address – for September 21, with plenty of nods to the Hollywood movie.
In a since deleted video, the pub promised attendees ‘free midget tossing’, with those who hit the target rewarded with a free drink. Soon after the vid began circulating on social media, people began to react with horror and disgust at the insensitivity shown towards those with dwarfism.
Following the backlash, staff at The Great Northern Hotel took down any mention of ‘midget tossing’ from their social media.
Hotel management representatives have also apologised for any offence they may have caused in a statement made to ABC News, clarifying they had intended to use a doll rather than an actual person during the game.
As reported by ABC News, representatives have apologised for ‘any comments and sadness this has bought to the community’, stating:
We are extremely sorry for any offence or reference to our Wolf of Watt St event, with tossing of any people,
[…] We had no intention of doing so and this was a misguided comment, in reference to the film.
The Wolf Of Wall Street features a scene where two people of short stature are thrown at a dart board by Wall Street traders. The first trader to ‘nail a bullseye’ is then rewarded with a $25,000 prize.
Regardless of whether or not the pub intended to throw real people against a dartboard, the language used within the advertising has proven deeply hurtful for those who have had to deal with this sort of mockery their entire lives.
Paralympian Alicia Jenkins – who has previously served as national secretary for the Short Statured People of Australia – told ABC News:
I was probably more than gobsmacked. It is horrifying, it is gut-wrenching, and I suppose my disappointment and my disgust is really hard to put into words,
It still appears that dwarfism is the last disability that people seem to think it is OK to mock and it is just wrong.
On a daily or weekly basis, I have people mocking me on the street, trying to take my photo, calling me midget and laughing and pointing at me.
[…] Whether there [are real people] or not, the fact that they are using the word midget and [they say] hit the mark and you get free drinks … it just can’t happen.
According to the Dwarfism Awareness Australia website, dwarfism is sometimes defined as an adult height shorter than 4 feet 10 inches, and can be caused by more than 200 distinct medical conditions.
The term ‘midget’ is considered offensive, especially when misused to describe individuals with dwarfism. According to Dwarfism Awareness Australia, acceptable terms to use include ‘dwarf, little person, person with dwarfism, short stature’.
Pubs should be places where all patrons feel safe and able to have fun. No matter what the intentions may have been behind this event, it is never okay to treat people like mere punchlines.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.