MEP condemns South West venues hosting “grotesque and outdated” dwarf wrestling events

Molly Scott Cato MEP has written an open letter to The Corn Exchange in Devizes and The Foundry in Torquay to express concerns that these venues are hosting “the grotesque and outdated spectacle of ‘dwarf wrestling’ as entertainment for average height people”.

Studies with dwarf people show nearly 80% have received verbal abuse, nearly two thirds often feel unsafe while out, a third have been touched by strangers, and 12% have experienced violence.

The letter in full reads:

To whom it may concern,

I have been contacted by a constituent who has raised concerns about your hosting of the grotesque and outdated spectacle of ‘dwarf wrestling’ as entertainment for average height people.

I am appalled and embarrassed that this could occur in the region that I represent. Such events date back to the Victorian Freak Shows at which people with dwarfism were paraded and abused. In fact, the publicity materials used by the company explicitly and repeatedly uses the word “m*dget”, which is deeply offensive to people with dwarfism and has strong historical associations with these Freak Shows.

These wrestlers may have chosen to be part of this spectacle. But by doing so they sustain an insidious and damaging stereotype that adversely affects the rest of the dwarfism community – including children – to live lives free from prejudice and to choose their own self-image, free from stereotypes. This is a community that within the South West of England that I represent. Studies with dwarf people showed nearly 80% had received verbal abuse, nearly two thirds often felt unsafe while out, a third had been touched by strangers, and 12% had experienced violence. This cannot be tolerated or worse, perpetuated by hosting of such events.

I also note that these events have been rightly condemned by the Restricted Growth Association (RGA) who in turn have also directly asked you to reconsider hosting these events (see rgauk.org/rga-uk-respond…)

As such I am writing to you at The Corn Exchange in Devizes to ask you to cancel the events before any further harm is done. I look forward to your prompt reply on this important matter.

Yours sincerely,

Molly Scott Cato MEP

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