Midget Gems renamed after claims name is offensive to those with dwarfism
The sweets will now be labelled 'Mini Gems'
Marks & Spencer has changed the name of its 'Midget Gems' sweets to avoid offending people with dwarfism.
Back in October 2021, disability campaigner Dr Erin Pritchard called out a number of supermarkets on Twitter for using the term 'midget' in their products.
Dr Pritchard, who lectures in Disability and Education at Liverpool Hope University, has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.
She criticised not only M&S and other supermarkets - but also television programmes and comedians who continue to use the term.
October is dwarfism awareness month, so when will @MorrisonsNews @Tesco @Freefromfellows @MaynardsBassett be changing the name of their midget gems? Midget is a form of hate speech #dwarfismawarenessmonth #DisabilityRights #disabilityawarenessmonth #HateSpeech
— Dr Erin Pritchard 🏴 (@ErinPritchard15) October 6, 2021
Dr Pritchard said: "The word midget is a form of hate speech and contributes to the prejudice that people with dwarfism experience on a daily basis.
“Having spoken with various firms about the use of the word midget, it’s clear that many companies are simply unaware of just how offensive the term is, and I’ve had to explain to them why it’s such an issue."
— Dr Erin Pritchard 🏴 (@ErinPritchard15) January 12, 2022
Marks & Spencer have now become the first retailer to drop the name, with the sweets now being called 'Mini Gems'.
It seems that there are a lot of average sized men getting upset about the removal of the word midget from a packet of sweets. I didn't realise they were so sensitive. Here's a good statement on why midget is offensive https://t.co/mOYsaJQCAq
— Dr Erin Pritchard 🏴 (@ErinPritchard15) January 13, 2022
"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," Dr Pritchard told the Telegraph. "There was initially some reluctance, but I pointed out that if they were going to persist in naming them midget gems then why not call other sweets by similarly offensive names?"
A spokesperson for the retailer 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."
Meanwhile, Tesco has said it will be reviewing the name of the sweets, saying that it "would not want any of [its] products to cause offence."
A spokesperson for the company said: "We are grateful to Dr Pritchard for bringing this to our attention and we will be reviewing the name of this product."
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