It’s a controversial film, what with all the drug use and various depictions hedonistic excess, but one scene in particular, showing a load of financial gurus throwing a dwarf across the room caused quite a stir. It’s a bizarre point in the film, and even more bizarrely, a pub has essentially decided to emulate it by hosting an event doing the very same thing.
The Great Northern Hotel in Newcastle, New South Wales, advertised the highly controversial event on Facebook, where it caused outrage.
Promoting the event by allowing guests to ‘toss a midget’ for free, the establishment has come under a great deal of condemnation. Alongside the other events, the Facebook description announced:
“If that won’t keep you on your toes the whole night, sign up for our FREE MIDGET-TOSSING!! Hit the target and receive a FREE DRINK!!”
‘Dwarf-tossing’ is a pub attraction, thought to have originated in Australia itself, in which people with dwarfism wearing padded clothing or Velcro, are thrown onto mattresses or at Velcro-covered walls.
According to the event description, if guests were to hit the target, they would get a free drink at the bar, however, many people who saw the event were quick to criticise both the event itself and the use of the derogatory term. As a result, the organisers speedily removed any and all references of ‘midget-tossing’, and have apologised for causing offence.
A statement given to ABC management stated: “We are extremely sorry for any offence or reference to our Wolf of Wtt 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”
Clearly in an attempt to back-paddle, the statement went on to clarify they were simply going to use a doll instead of a real person.
National President of the Short Statured People of Australia, Sam Millard, said these types of events could lead to people being targeted in public.
“We know that in the past unfortunately after events like this there have been people in the community that have been picked up and thrown in local bars and have been injured significantly.
“So these kinds of things might sound like a joke but they do have real world consequences.”
Dwarfism Awareness Australia went on to explain that “acceptable words to use are dwarf, little person, person with dwarfism, short stature. But most would be like to be called by their name rather than their condition.”
Some high-profile names have been coming out to criticise the event too. Paralympian and former national secretary for the Short Statured People of Australian, Alicia Jenkins said the whole thing left her dumbstruck.
“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 tot think it is OK to mock and it is just wrong”
Ms Jenkins does not seem to be a fan of the pubs attempted cover-up, stating that the event is insulting whether a doll is used or not.
This is off the back of a recent investigation of a Benidorm pub due to their ‘rent a midget’ nights, with state prosecutors in Alicante being asked to probe ‘Chaplin’s’ following claims it may have committed a hate crime.
The complaint was launched by Cermi, an organisation representing people with disabilities in Spain, after seeing a street sign and online ad. The sign in questioned offered a person with dwarfism to be ‘rented’ to a paying group.
Chaplin’s Disco Pub has traditionally attracted a mainly British clientele with acts including a ‘midget stripper show’.
Felipe Orviz, a legal advisor for the ALPE Foundation, which supports families and children with a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia, is raising the issue with local and regional councils. This is due to the practice being seen as highly “denigrating”.
I get that you want to try and replicate and iconic film, but it’s probably best to leave out all the, uh, crimes and dehumanisation.
Images via Facebook
Currently attempting to survive as a part-time writer, full time incompetent adult, Sarah O'Neill has been writing for The Hook for just a short amount of time, but has already posted two articles about how much she hates the new seasons of Arrested Development. She does her best writing under pressure and her worst writing under pressure, and hopes one day to write under better conditions, like by the sea.