Toss Objects, Not People

  • A
  • A
  • A

Leah Smith

Katzman Enterprises announced they would be hosting a dwarf-tossing event at their two establishments this week: Leopard’s Lounge in Windsor, Ontario and the Toy Chest Bar in Detroit, Michigan. Both establishments are strip clubs owned by The Katzman’s, who regularly try to push the envelope with their tastelessness.

In case you’ve never heard of it, dwarf tossing is a competition, usually held at bars, to see how far participants can toss a person of short stature. While this barbaric event has been around since the 80’s, it has gained popularity since it was portrayed in the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Although the event has been banned in Florida and New York, organized dwarf tossing continues to occur throughout the country. Its bad consequences also continue to occur. In fact, in 2012 in his Golden Globe acceptance speech, famous dwarf actor, Peter Dinklage, asked the audience to go home and Google “Martin Henderson,” with no further context than the name. It turned out that Martin Henderson was a recent victim of the effects of dwarf tossing. Shortly before the awards ceremony, Martin Henderson was standing outside of a bar in England smoking a cigarette, when a group of men walked up to him and tossed him, as they had seen in dwarf tossing competitions. Martin Henderson was left partially paralyzed. Being a member of the dwarfism community, I have also heard several other accounts when people of short stature, that were not participating in such a competition, were also put at risk of being tossed. Virtually everyone within the dwarfism community has experienced the threat of being picked up against their will. Surely, we do not want to encourage such dangerous and insulting behavior.

At the announcement of the upcoming events being held in Detroit and Windsor, The Katzman’s stated that they were hosting the event after popular demand and were inspired by “The Wolf of Wall Street.” This is evidence that there is a deep connection between popular culture, disability stigma and violence. Many advocates reached out to Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio before the release of the movie to express this serious concern of the community. As you can see, they were unwilling to budge on its appearance in the film.

In 2012, The Katzman’s hosted this same event and reported to have had over 500 people in attendance. Of course, the person who wins at throwing the Little Person the furthest receives a trophy, like any good competition would.

The mere fact that this event is still being made popular is outrageous. Whether or not the person of short stature lands on padding, has a helmet on or willingly participates, is simply hot air, as throwing anyone at a wall, much less a group of people with a compromised spinal canal, is not safe, no matter how you put it. Further, the event also objectifies Little People, as it treats them like objects rather than people. Horseshoes, basketballs, salads and an old pair of jeans are all meant to be tossed, but not people.

If, like me, you are outraged at the practice of dwarf tossing, join me in signing this petition to demand that Katzman Enterprises cancel this upcoming event:

Contact: Leah Smith