Little People Advocacy Group Blasts Discovery For Dwarf Wrestling Show

The nation’s largest advocacy group for people with dwarfism had a “here we go again” reaction that spurred them into action when they heard about a new dwarf-wrestling reality show on the Discovery Channel.

The show -- “Big Little Brawlers” -- focuses on the personal and working lives of five little wrestlers who perform for an outfit called the Micro Wrestling Federation, based in Tennessee.

After it got wind of the show, the advocacy group -- Sonoma, California-based Little People of America -- issued a strongly worded letter posted to social media on January 5.

Addressed to Howard Lee, president of Discovery Channel Networks and TLC, the letter from LPA President Eileen Norman said the show is “distasteful,” “exploitative” and advances enduring stereotypes of little people as sideshow attractions that the LPA has fought against for years.



“Little people have been used as entertainment for average-height audiences for hundreds of years. Circus ‘freak shows,’ ‘midget’- or ‘micro’-wrestling, and dwarf tossing are just a few examples,” the letter said.

“Today, most members of our community are strongly opposed to this type of 'entertainment'," the letter continued.

“Violence against members of our community is all too common. Most people with dwarfism have at least one assault story where an average-height person groped, assaulted, physically picked up, slapped, spit on, threatened, or otherwise violated them because of their short stature.”

The LPA letter accuses Discovery of violating its own values. “Your corporation’s ‘Guiding Principles’ emphasize empowering others, having courage, and pursuing equity,” the LPA letter said.

“These are values our organizations share. Your stated commitment to intentionally seeking out diversity, removing barriers and creating space for all to share ideas and be heard is laudable. 

“However, LPA and the disability advocacy community will tell you that ‘Big Little Brawlers’ does not align with your commitments.”

In a press release about the show issued in December, Discovery positioned the show and its participants in a positive light.

“Big Little Brawlers” is “full of heart, drama and high-flying micro wrestling,” the press release said.

“As they attempt to achieve their piece of the American Dream, a group of remarkable little people athletes with larger-than-life personalities are forced to overcome ego, injury, and the limitations imposed by society,” it said.

Premiering last week, “Big Little Brawlers” is based in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a Smoky Mountain town best known as the home base of Dolly Parton and her Dollywood amusement park and resort complex. The town is also home base for the all-dwarf Micro Wrestling Federation.

The show’s fierce five, seen in the photo above, are (top row, l-r): Hot Rod, Lil’ Show and Pinky Shortcake; (bottom row, l-r): Ivar the Micro and Syko.

“Big Little Brawlers” brings viewers into a world most of them probably never heard of. Dwarf wrestling today is a full-fledged form of entertainment with several competing organizations promoting the sport.

One of them is Dallas/Fort Worth-based Extreme Midget Wrestling. Promotional material on the organization’s web site promises that its shows provide “Full Tilt / No Holds Barred Midget Mayhem!”

The company bills itself as entertainment providers and promoters, and positions its shows as “a night full of fun.” 

The parent company of Extreme Midget Wrestling, Centerstage Entertainment, also operates another little-people wrestling organization, Extreme Dwarfanators Wrestling, based in Oklahoma City.

“We are small in stature, but we pack a powerful punch!” boasts the Dwarfanators web site. “We have been touring for over 15 years now and selling out shows in event centers, nightclubs, arenas, fairgrounds, and many more!!!

“We flip, fly, toss and soar through the air, performing jaw-dropping stunts that will leave you on the edge of your seat! If you’re looking for family-friendly entertainment that is sure to be a hit with everyone, then our Dwarf wrestling show is the perfect event for you!”

One of the LPA’s problems with the dwarf wrestling shows in general is the use of the words “midget” and “midget wrestling” in their promotion material. The LPA considers the word to be so toxic and derogatory that it refers to it as “the M-word.”

But that cannot be said for Discovery’s publicity material for “Big Little Brawlers,” which carefully avoids using the terms “midget wrestling” or “dwarf wrestling” in favor of “micro wrestling.”

Discovery did not reply to a request for comment on Tuesday.

1 comment about "Little People Advocacy Group Blasts Discovery For Dwarf Wrestling Show".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, January 17, 2024 at 11:18 p.m.

    If Big Little Brawlers Micro Wrestling doesn't do good in the ratings it will not get a second season simple as that. And I doubt that the wrestlers care if the wrestling names is midget or dwarf in the wrstling orgs name otherwise they wouldn't be in those wrestling orgs. I didn't even know there was an outrage about the show first that I have heard of it.

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