M&S renames Midget Gems following calls from disability campaigner

Marks & Spencer has rebranded its standard “Midget Gems” following calls from a disability campaigner who stated the time period is a type of hate speech.

Dr Erin Pritchard, a lecturer in disability research at Liverpool Hope University, has lengthy been campaigning for supermarkets to alter the identify of the sweets, which she says is insulting to these with dwarfism.

Confirming the change in a press release on Thursday, 13 January, Marks & Spencer stated the sweets have been renamed 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,” a spokesperson instructed the Independent.

“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.”

According to charity Little People UK, dwarfism impacts round 7,000 folks within the UK. The situation is a results of a spontaneous mutation, with 80 per cent of individuals with dwarfism being born to common peak dad and mom.

Pritchard raised considerations in regards to the identify of the sweets in October 2021, throughout Dwarfism Awareness Month.

Midget Gems had been first created and bought in 1903 by Lion Confectionary, a Yorkshire based mostly firm.

Tagging a number of supermarkets in posts on Twitter, Pritchard stated using the phrase “midget” promotes promote disability hate speech in direction of folks with dwarfism.

She instructed MailOnline that the time period “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.”

It appears Tesco may comply with go well with. On its web site, the identify of the sweets has been modified to “Mini Gems”, nonetheless an accompanying image of the packaging nonetheless has the previous identify.

In a press release to the Independent, a spokesperson for Tesco stated: “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.”

News of the change has acquired some criticism on social media, with customers branding it part of “cancel culture”.

“The change should have happened years ago. It is easy for people not called the word to think its removal is wrong,” Pritchard stated.

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