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Major retailer renames ‘Midget gems’ after learning it is ‘hate speech’ – RT World News

A campaign by a disability scholar has led large UK supermarket chain Marks & Spencer to rebrand its ‘Midget jewelry’ over fears the name might be offensive to people with growth problems.

‘Little gemstones’ have been around since the early 1900s, with many companies producing firm and chewy candies which are highly regarded by UK customers.

However, the popular treat had always left a bitter aftertaste for Dr Erin Pritchard of Liverpool Hope University. The scholar, who herself suffers from achondroplasia – the most common form of dwarfism – urged supermarkets and confectionery makers to rename these candies for good.

“The word ‘dwarf’ is a form of hate speech and contributes to the prejudices that people with dwarfism experience on a daily basis”, Pritchard insisted.

She said she drew this conclusion not only from her studies, but also from her personal struggles in everyday life. “When people shout your name at you in the street, it is normal that it is deleted” she said.

According to the scholar, many producers and distributors were simply unaware of how offensive the term “dwarf” – or “the m-word,” as people with dwarfism call it – was.

It derives from the word “midge,” which means gnat or sandfly, popularized by so-called “monster shows” in the Victorian era where people with disabilities were oppressed, exploited and mocked, she said.

Pritchard’s efforts were not in vain, as producers such as Free From Fellows and WH Smith and Boots have already given up on the “midget gems” brand.

Earlier this week, British media noticed that Marks & Spencer (M&S) had also dropped the name, becoming the first supermarket chain to do so. The retailer, which has some 32 million customers, had quietly renamed the candies “Mini gems”.

The company spokesperson confirmed the move, saying on Wednesday that after Pritchard’s comments and other suggestions, “Last year we introduced new mini gem packaging, which has since been rolled out to all of our stores. “ The chain is “Committed to being an inclusive retailer”, according to the spokesperson.

Another major supermarket chain, Tesco, also recently promised to revamp the branding of its “Midget Gems”. “We are grateful to Dr Pritchard for bringing this to our attention”, said the company.

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