M&S drops 'midget gems' name over fears it insults people with dwarfism

13 January 2022, 08:47

M&S has dropped the name 'midget gems'
M&S has dropped the name 'midget gems'. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Marks and Spencer has dropped the name "midget gems" to avoid causing offence to people with dwarfism.

The popular sweet will now be called "mini gems" after a lobbying campaign by Dr Erin Pritchard, an academic at Liverpool Hope University who has achondroplasia.

The condition restricts bone growth, which causes short upper arms and thighs.

Dr Pritchard, a disability and education lecturer, has campaigned for shops to ditch the name and hopes others will follow M&S's move.

But she has also spoken out about how her lobbying victory drew hatred from some, with one person emailing her to call her a "nasty old vile cow" for her part in the rebrand.

Dr Pritchard, 35, told the Mirror: "The word "midget" is a form of hate speech and contributes to the prejudice that people with dwarfism experience on a daily basis.

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'Midget gems' have been rebranded at M&S
'Midget gems' have been rebranded at M&S. Picture: Alamy

"We need better awareness about this particular word so that things can change for the better.

"And I'm grateful that M&S has been willing to listen to the concerns of people with dwarfism and has gone ahead with the rebranding."

But the change has drawn anger, with one person sending an insulting email rant to the academic.

Dr Pritchard tweeted: "What a nasty old vile witch you are.

"What a "lovely" email... Banning midget gems. Nasty old cow. Wish someone would ban you permanently.

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"Just cause you're a MIDGET doesn't mean you can ban the word. Just face it you're a dwarf. Nasty old vile cow.

"You're a midget, small lady. Go sue me. Just shut your face and stop being woke. Grow up!"

The lecturer defended her campaign, tweeting separately: "Perhaps if strangers refrained from screaming it [midget] at people with dwarfism in the street it wouldn't matter."

An M&S said spokesperson said: "We are committed to being an inclusive retailer - from how we support our colleagues, through to the products we offer and the way we market them to our 32 million customers.

"Following suggestions from our colleagues and the insights shared by Dr Erin Pritchard, we introduced new mini gem packaging last year, which has since been rolled out to all of our stores."