Little People Angry With "Apprentice," Call for "Midget" Ban - NBC New York

Little People Angry With "Apprentice," Call for "Midget" Ban

TV commercial features term deemed offensive

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Meet Four Inspiring Kids Tackling Cancer
    NBC
    Nic Reddy wasn't digging the outfit and his fellow little people were none too happy with being called "midgets."

    The Little People of American won't stand for being called "midgets" any longer and they've made their feelings known to the Federal Communications Commission.

    "Historically, the word 'midget' has been used to objectify people, like in the circus,'' said Clinton Brown III, co-chairman of the 52nd Annual National Conference of Little People of America, which took place in New York over the Fourth of July weekend. "We're in the 21st century. We're beyond that.''

    "Jesse James Dirty with Midgets"

    Little people have chafed at the use of the word midget for years, but their ire was inflamed by an April episode of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice." Contestant Jesse James and his teamates film a commercial called "Jesse James and the Midgets," in which the TV mechanic gets scrubbed clean by a troika of little people dressed like "Oompa-Loompa creepy little things."

    "This is not just a complaint but a kickoff to educate Americans unaware that the 'M-word' is offensive to little people,'' said Michael Petruzzelli, whose 6-year-old son is a little person, discussing a filing with the FCC.

    Calls to the FCC and "Celebrity Apprentice'' host Donald Trump were not returned Sunday. NBC Universal representatives didn't immediately respond to e-mail messages, and the telephone rang unanswered at their Los Angeles office.

    This LPA convention in Brooklyn was the first time the 3,000-plus group convened in New York and the largest meeting ever, according to The New York Post.

    People from across the globe came to the Marriott in downtown Brooklyn for sessions on tailoring, home
    remodeling, dating mixers and to learn about the history of little people in film.

    "My life totally changed when I attended my first convention," Brown told the Post. "The playing ground here is level -- with friends, and girls!"