Lifting Dwarf-Toss Ban Would Help 'Drunk Bullies'

Politician claims 'abusive, degrading' activity would be good for jobs

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 24, 2011 1:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Florida legislator is pushing the state to repeal its 22-year-old ban on "dwarf tossing"—throwing a person with dwarfism, often against a Velcro wall and usually done by drunks at a bar. Rep. Ritch Workman says he is doing it for the "freedom" of little people, so they can get that sort of job if they want. But Bill Klein, who stars in TLC's The Little Couple, calls the practice "segregating, abusive, and degrading" in a column for the Daily Beast.

Klein notes that dwarfism is a skeletal dysplasia often accompanied by a host of health problems, so the risk of injury in tossing is high. "Dwarf tossing is not a sport—no rules or regulations, no conditioning required to participate, a lack of consideration for the welfare of the participants, no medical oversight, no medical insurance, and no future," writes Klein, noting that such a scenario doesn't exactly sound like "gainful employment." Rather, "it is simply a way to attract drunk bullies into a bar where it’s safe to practice their habitual abuse of others." What steps could Workman be taking instead? Ones with a greater impact, argues Klein, for instance, working to make sure the Americans With Disabilities Act is more than "an acronym employers stamp on their help-wanted ads."

Jennifer Arnold  and Bill Klein appear at the Gracie Awards Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel earlier this year. Klein writes that dwarf tossing is wrong and should remain banned in Florida.
Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein appear at the Gracie Awards Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel earlier this year. Klein writes that "dwarf tossing" is wrong and should remain banned in Florida.   (Getty Images)
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