M&S renames Midget Gems in response to hate speech concerns

Marks and Spencers has renamed its Midget Gems after a disability campaigner highlighted the term was a form of hate speech used to discriminate against people with dwarfism.

Dr. Erin Pritchard, a lecturer in disability studies at Liverpool Hope University, raised the issue with supermarkets in October 2021.

Pritchard – who has achondroplasia, a condition that stunts growth – tweeted: “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.”


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M&S was the first retailer to respond, rebranding its own-brand version of the sweets to Mini Gems.

“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,”  explained an M&S spokesperson.

“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.”

Other UK supermarkets haven’t yet renamed their Midget Gems.

In October, Pritchard singled out Tesco tweeting: “It’s still #dwarfismawareness month and yet still @Tesco are selling products that promote disability hate speech towards people with dwarfism.”

Tesco have confirmed it will review the name of its product, a spokesperson added: “We are a diverse and inclusive retailer and we would not want any of our products to cause offence.”

“We are grateful to Dr Pritchard for bringing this to our attention and we will be reviewing the name of this product.”

According to the charity Little People UK, there are 7,000 people in the UK with dwarfism, which can be genetically inherited or caused by a genetic mutation.

Pritchard’s recent book Disability Hate Speech clarified the term midget was popularised as a derogatory term in Victorian freak shows where people with dwarfism or other disabilities were exploited.

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