M&S has renamed the popular sweet 'Midget Gems' to avoid offending those with dwarfism.
The retailer has removed the term 'midget' and has rebranded the sweets as 'Mini Gems', reports The Telegraph.
Dr Erin Pritchard, who's a lecturer in Disability and Education at Liverpool Hope University, has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, and has slammed other UK retails for continuing to use the word.
She said: “The word midget is a form of hate speech and 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.”
Dr Pritchard told The Telegraph: “I’m grateful that M&S has been willing to listen to the concerns of people with dwarfism and has gone ahead with the rebranding.
"There was initially some reluctance, but I pointed out that if they were going to persist in naming them midget gems then why not call other sweets by similarly offensive names?”
She added: “If companies still use the word in their products and branding they should stop now. It’s offensive and unacceptable to disabled people.”
Dr Pritchard, who also appears in Channel 4’s Dating with Dwarfism, has spoke about the relationship issues caused by the condition.
She went on to say: It is truly baffling that, in this day and age, a number of British retailers are still able to use this disablist hate speech to market their products.
“Last October was Dwarfism Awareness Month, and I took to Twitter to tag numerous supermarkets and sweet companies in a tweet asking them when they would be removing the word midget from their products.
“Only Free from Fellows responded. At this point, M&S had already written to me stating that they would remove the name.
“For me, this highlights the need for better awareness about just how problematic the word midget really is.”
An M&S spokesman confirmed the name change and said: “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.
“Following suggestions from our colleagues and the insights shared by Dr Pritchard, we introduced new mini gem packaging last year, which has since been rolled out to all of our stores.”
The Telegraph contacted Tesco, one of the supermarkets which didn't respond to Dr Pritchard's comments, to which a Tesco Spokesperson said: “Everyone is welcome at Tesco 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."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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