Washington State

Washington State Lawmaker Wants to Ban Dwarf Tossing, Says It 'Ridicules and Demeans'

What's actually demeaning is thinking you know what's best for an entire group of people.

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YouTube Screenshot via Screen Junkies

A Washington State legislator has proposed legislation that would ban dwarf tossing, arguing that it's "an offense to our sensibilities."

Dwarf tossing, for those who aren't familiar, involves a person with dwarfism allowing him or herself to be thrown onto a padded surface (like a mattress) or Velcro wall. The dwarfs are usually paid performers, and they generally wear protective gear. The practice has origins in mid-1980s Australia, according to The Washington Post. If you've got more questions, look no further than the opening scene of the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

But according to Washington State Sen. Mike Padden (R–4), it should be illegal. "There's nothing funny about dwarf-tossing," Padden said in a statement yesterday. "It ridicules and demeans people with dwarfism, and causes others to think of them as objects of public amusement. Even when participants are willing, it exposes them to the possibility of lifetime spinal injury. Dwarf-tossing is an offense to our sensibilities."

Padden's statement came a day after he co-sponsored SB 5486 along with Sens. Barbara Bailey (R–10) and Patty Kuderer (D–48). The bill says businesses licensed to sell liquor (i.e. bars) and "adult entertainment venues" (i.e. strip clubs) cannot "allow or permit any contest or promotion or other form of recreational activity involving exploitation that endangers the health, safety, and welfare of any person with dwarfism." Violations are punishable by a loss of liquor/business license and a fine of up to $1,000.

Padden says he became aware of this issue following a dwarf-tossing event last October at the Deja Vu Showgirls strip club in Spokane Valley. "Why would these people sign up to be, you know, be physically abused, maybe even hurt, thrown around?" Gonzaga University student Ben Foos, himself a dwarf, asked KREM at the time. "It's more frustrated with the viewers and the people who are coordinating it because they know what's happening and they are paying to see it happen," Foos added.

Ever since then, Foos and his mother Ginny, who's also a dwarf, have advocated to make dwarf tossing illegal. "I'm particularly concerned about that it is occurring among inebriated people that leave the bar and think they can do that to just anybody," Ginny Foos told KHQ. "I hope it's eradicated by the time I have grandchildren so I don't have to worry about it."

The state senate's Law and Justice Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on January 31. Representatives from the dwarf advocacy group Little People of America, which generally opposes dwarf tossing, will testify, according to The Spokesman-Review.

But not everyone is in agreement. Mighty Mike Murga, who was tossed at the Deja Vu Showgirls club in October, compared his preparation to that of any other athlete. "It's a sport that started in England in the 1800s," he tells The Spokesman-Review. "This is not for every little person. If you're not cut out for it, don't do it," he adds.

Washington isn't the only place where people are debating the merits of dwarf tossing. That's thanks to Neomi Rao, the administrator of the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, who President Trump has nominated to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

As the Post notes, Rao has faced criticism for her defense of Manuel Wackenheim, a dwarf living in a Paris suburb where dwarf tossing was prohibited. Wackenheim challenged the ban in the 1990s, claiming that he made a living by being tossed.

Writing in Volokh Conspiracy in 2011, Rao explained why the ban was misguided. "Respect for intrinsic human dignity, however, would favor individual choice," she wrote. "As with other similar theories, it is a short step from having substantive ideals of dignity to coercion of individuals in the name of these ideals."

It's a fair point, as the R Street Institute's Shoshana Weissmann explained in a November piece for Reason. "One can disagree with another's choices," Weissmann wrote, "but dignity is about the right to make those choices instead of having the government make them for us."

This applies to the law proposed in Washington State as well. Padden claims dwarf tossing "ridicules and demeans people with dwarfism." In reality, it's far more demeaning to think you know what's best for an entire group of people. No one is forcing dwarves to be tossed, but if that's an activity they want to voluntarily pursue, they should be able to.

And what about claims that dwarf tossing is physically dangerous? Well, no one has seriously proposed banning football or hockey. According to Murga, it's the same idea. "The impact [in dwarf tossing] is hitting the mattresses from the top," he told the Post. "In those sports, the impact is the other player pushing or hitting you, shoving you over, and you falling to the ground. So this is the same resistance."

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  1. “Why would these people sign up to be, you know, be physically abused, maybe even hurt, thrown around?”

    It’s a mystery, no question about it.

    Now, go check in with professional boxers, wrestlers, and MMA fighters.

    1. And gimps.

    2. Skydivers… Bungie jumpers… People who get in those “Zorb” balls…

    3. Why would these people sign up to be, you know, be physically abused, maybe even hurt, thrown around?” Gonzaga University student Ben Foos, himself a dwarf, asked KREM at the time.

      I have this sudden urge to play foosball.

    4. No one is going to mention masochism? Your dominatrix will have something to say about that.

    5. Yep. This is stupid. I actually know Mike Padden. He doesn’t usually go off the rails like this. I also remember seeing that event being advertised at the Vu.

      Nothing like mixing whores and tossed dwarves. Maybe they will have to switch to hobbits.

      1. Update: I just spoke with a former State Senator friend of mine who talks to have Padden regularly. I think he’s going to attempt to dissuade him from this course of action.

  2. Dwarfs get the short end of nature’s stick, people tend to use tallness as a proxy for strength and virtue.

    If some dwarfs want to take their disadvantage around and make it a source of profit, then why should people with guns stop them from making such a life decision?

    1. What part of “they’re to stupid to know they’re being taken advantage of” don’t you understand?

    2. Yes, one day we might be mature enough not to look down (so to speak) on very short people or wonder “how far can I throw them”? Until then, why can’t dwarfs monetize the prejudice and discomfort they encounter by turning their situation into a moneymaking opportunity? It’s not as if limiting people’s opportunities will increase the amount of tolerance and love in the world, outside of a progressive fantasy land.

      1. Seems like a relatively small problem.

        1. That was a rather short quip.

      2. “Until then, why can’t dwarfs monetize the prejudice and discomfort they encounter by turning their situation into a moneymaking opportunity?”

        Bearded lady, Elephant man, and monkey boy agree!!

  3. You can’t really preemptively save a group of people if you don’t preemptively strip them of agency.

    1. Any dwarf who “agrees” to be tossed is merely acting from false consciousness. They’re unable to see they’ve been so oppressed that degradation now seems agreeable to them.

      /pencil-necked intellectual

      1. ‘elp, ‘elp! I’m being oppressed! Did you see him oppress me? Oh, now we see the violence inherent in the system!

      2. Where do dwarfs place on the intersectionality scale? Until we know we won’t know how to respond.

        1. Figuring that out sounds like a tall order.

        2. Below just about everyone else, obviously.

    2. “Agency is a social construct of the white supremacist cisheteropatriarchy used to oppress marginalized peoples”

      1. Can’t tell if serious or sarcastic. Please send newsletter.

  4. Typical cronyism just because dwarves hoard gold in their mountain mines and donated it to pols.

    What about cow tipping? Or snipe hunting? Are they not worthy?

    1. Dwarves and dwarfs are not the same, go back and retake Nerd 101.

      1. You’re going to force me to google that?

          1. Sweet fancy Moses.

      2. Yet another example where dwarves need protection from those heathen orcs who would destroy the beauty of middle earth.

        1. Another shocking example of elf privilege.

            1. That’s sick, I love it!

              1. They made a movie based on that game.

                A very shitty movie, but a movie nonetheless.

      3. Their both midgets,

        1. No. Dwarf tossing good, midget tossing bad.

          Dwarfs have outsized heads for their height, midgets are proportioned normally.

          1. Wait, aren’t midgets better balanced for tossing?

            1. Subject to full lateral pass.

      4. “Dwarves and dwarfs are not the same, go back and retake Nerd 101.”
        It’s “hanged”.

      5. I’m ok with this as long as dwarves are still able to be paladins.

        1. A significant part of being a paladin is riding a horse in full armor with a lance. How does a little person pull that off?

          1. With an imagination worthy of Don Quixote

  5. I’m jealous because nobody ever wants to toss *me.* Even bouncers just put me in a wheelbarrow and dump me in the alley. Something about not wanting to strain their back.

    1. Move to the north country. In the winter bouncers are happy to throw you in a snowbank.

  6. The practice has origins in mid-1980s Australia

    Yeah, and as I recall, it was a trendy subject of outrage here in the US circa the late-’80s to early-’90s.

    What’s this guy’s next proposed ban? 8-ball jackets and parachute pants?

    1. that’s not a dwarf, this is a dwarf

  7. a ban? how?

    1. Pass one of those law thingies that magically prevent certain thingies from happening.

      1. stops no person from throwing anyone anywhere

        1. Indeed, not even a judge throwing someone in jail!

          1. i guess if you fear that kind of thing … dwarf-throwing party seems in order afaic

          2. Cut to scene of a bullied dwarf trying to sign up for judo classes. Sorry, little buddy.

          3. Judge throwing party? I’m down.

            1. yes! me too.

    2. I guess they are gonna put a height limit on tossing: “You must be this tall to be tossed.”
      Sounds hella problematic, if you ask me.

  8. As a person of above average height I am particularly upset that they are making some kind of height requirement. What about Andre the Giant who was tossed by that upstart punk Hulk Hogan, that still ruffles my feathers. Equally under the law god dammit!

    1. You joke, but I think there’s an actual equal protection problem here. It’s one thing for the government to make this illegal if the statistics indicate a high injury rate. But it should be equally illegal to toss an adult who is 3 feet tall, 5 feet tall, or 7 feet tall, unless you can show me that it’s actually perfectly safe for a taller person to get tossed.

  9. You should never just toss a dwarf, they’re recyclable.

    1. Composting is not advisable.

    2. And you should never toss a dwarf’s salad.

      1. Ok ok, I should have scrolled all the way down, you degenerates already made this joke twice below.

  10. “There’s nothing funny about dwarf-tossing,” Padden said in a statement yesterday. “It ridicules and demeans people with dwarfism, and causes others to think of them as objects of public amusement. Even when participants are willing, it exposes them to the possibility of lifetime spinal injury. Dwarf-tossing is an offense to our sensibilities.”

    Now do strippers.

    1. >>>do strippers

      ’90s were fun times

    2. Dude literally thought of this in a strip club. Probably as a stripper was rubbing her titties all over his face for a dollar.

      1. Research

      2. He wouldn’t have to go inside. This particular strip club is on one of the highest traffic arterials in all of Spokane. With a very prominent marquee. And if memory serves, they were advertising that event for something like two months.

  11. “There’s nothing funny about horseback-riding. It ridicules and demeans animals with equinism, and causes others to think of them as objects of public amusement. Even when participants are willing, it exposes them to the possibility of lifetime spinal injury. Horseback-riding is an offense to our sensibilities.”

  12. Now ban football, geniuses. It hurts a lot more people than dwarf tossing could ever to.

  13. Dwarfs should be able to get their salad tossed- it’s just fair.

  14. Does that include their salads?

  15. Ten to One this legislator smokes the marijuana that is now legal in Washington and has made him crazed.

    Keep this in mind about marijuana =

    Joe Biden coined the term ‘Drug Czar’ after watching Reefer Madness. According to Biden, the movie set him on a path to have the government warn the nation’s youth about the dangerous marijuana.

    Biden is in constant contact with past and present Drug Czars, and they say that the current marijuana is much more powerful that the hippie weed. So much so, that it’s now considered by them to be not only highly addictive but a gateway drug to LSD.

    Unnamed sources say Biden was maneuvered to be Obama’s Vice President so Biden could keep an eye on him. There was a feeling that Obama would start to smoking marijuana again, even though he swore he was off the stuff. So Biden was there to make sure Obama behaved and did not reclassify marijuana.

    1. So Biden was there to make sure Obama behaved and did not reclassify marijuana.

      Are you sure Biden wasn’t there as Obama’s dealer?

  16. Good to know that Washington has time to tackle issues like this because they’ve taken care of all the serious problems, like homelessness…. wait- nevermind.

  17. Bernie Sanders set to announce 2020 presidential run

    Sanders has a lot to offer us Koch / Reason libertarians. In particular, his position that abortion should be legal for any reason through all 9 months of pregnancy ? that overlaps perfectly with our reproductive rights stance.

    He could be better on economic issues though. But nobody’s perfect.

    #LibertariansForBernie

    1. Sweet! Maybe the DNC will totally fuck him over again, and poison the D’s against whoever the preferred candidate they pick is, thus leading to an easy Trump 2020 victory. The screams should be soothing.

      1. Drumpf will almost certainly be removed from office by the end of this year. Haven’t you been paying attention to the news?

        If he manages to run again in 2020 not even Russian hacking will help him win.

        1. He’s still not removed? I stopped paying attention last year because I was assured that he would be impeached any minute.

    2. Ah! Another impotent male mystic presuming to mansplain to the ladies how they need to be bullied at gunpoint. This would seem more sincere if the males in question were to, say, cripplingly bind their feet the way men expected Chinese women to do. Till then it’s simply voter repellent of the sort that elects Ocasios.

      1. Yes Hank, you love murdering babies. You talk about your love of imfanticide all the time.

    3. Why is it that “reproductive” rights always mean choosing to not reproduce?

    4. Yeah, sure. And given that progressives believe in retroactive rape, why not retroactive abortion?

    5. My God that picture of Bernie. No way that dude lives until 2020.

      1. He and Hillary persist through regular ingestion of infant’s blood. I think they go straight off the tap and drain a few dry every day.

  18. People should not be tossing dwarfs when there are plenty of useless politicians that need tossing.

  19. “an offense to our sensibilities”

    That there is a representative who would submit such legislation is an offense to my sensibilities.

  20. Isn’t the name “Little People of America” a ‘little’ bit demeaning in itself? We’re at a time in our culture where you can’t buy a ‘small’ soft drink—the size with the least content is often a ‘medium’. Can’t we glean from this that pretty much all words that have historically implied some form of inferiority, be it in size, ability or quality should simply be stricken from the vocabulary of the new millennium? It seems to me that “Little People of America” is as demeaning to those of a more diminutive stature as is “NAACP” to—,well, ‘Colored People’. And, as they used to say back when they didn’t give a crap what other people thought but wanted to avoid a nuclear war on Usenet*, YMMV.

    *If you don’t know what Usenet is, log off now and go talk to someone who was alive when you were born.

    1. I’m pretty sure calling the smallest cup size medium is a marketing gimmick, not PC culture run amok. It’s called a medium because psychologically it makes dumb people believe they are getting more value for their money.

      Excuse me, people suffering from Wisdom Deficiency Disorder, not dumb people. My bad.

      1. “Tiny Houses” are in vogue, and plenty of things are described as “mini-.” You might call dwarves Micro-Americans.

  21. Prediction:
    Sudden increase in dwarf-tossing in Oregon.

    1. And deposit stamps on their little heads, sos you can’t bring in Washington midgets to throw.

  22. Democrats. The party of ” A solution in search of a problem”.

  23. The Wizard of Oz brought together Munchkins from all over, and when Judy Garland wasn’t looking they partied! Some overdid it, and there were reports of cookie tossing by some of the dwarfs and midgets. But it was their party, and in Hollywood, not Washington, and liquor had until recently been banned by the better people who know what’s good for the riff-raff.

    1. And so, I surmise, when a midget tossed there wasn’t as much to clean up?

      1. Maybe with midgets. I think dwarfs have full sized testies.

    2. I once knew the guy who played the Munchkin coroner. He said every night after filming was party central and not a few babies came along about nine months later.

  24. causes others to think of them as objects of public amusement

    It certainly sounds likes it’s causing Washington State Sen. Mike Padden to think of them as objects for public amusement.

  25. ” Dwarf-tossing is an offense to our sensibilities.”

    100% agree. He’s losing me on the part where this becomes a problem of the law.

    1. He wants to insert his subjective feeling into objective law.

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  27. The practice has origins in mid-1980s Australia….

    I suspect it goes back much farther than that, and the dwarves in question didn’t necessarily “allow themselves” to be tossed….

    1. Times have changed ya know?

  28. The practice has origins in mid-1980s Australia…

    Speakin’ o’ which, Happy ‘Strylya Die all you drongos.

    Translation: Australia Day, Jan 26, is the anniversary of the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip RN with a few other officers and sailors and a company of Royal Marines went ashore in Sydney Cove, planted the Union Jack and claimed the Australian continent for England.

    It is celebrated by descendents of the European Australians with fireworks and drunken revelry and mourned by the indigenous people as Invasion Day.

    1. “It is celebrated by descendents of the European Australians with fireworks and drunken revelry”

      So…basically the extra element today is the fireworks? Otherwise, sounds like a normal day.

      1. And what if you have European *and* aboriginal ancestors? Do you take one drink in celebration and another drink to drown the sorrow?

    2. Well, nobody stopped the aboriginals from invading England first.

      1. Q.) What distinguishes the Irish-American from the Irish-Australian?

        A.) The I-Am’s ancestor was one step faster when being chased by the sheriff. 🙂

        Happy ` Stralia Day, you larrikins, from your “cousin,” Kevrob!

        (whose Dad served in WWII in Australia and New Guinea alongside the Diggers, building airstrips for the US Army Corps of Engineers. He always spoke well of the Aussie troopers.)

  29. Remember when liberals fought The Man? Now they are The Man.

    1. A rather effeminate man with a hair bun.

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  31. I guess Keith Morris won’t be able to tour there if he gets Midget Handjob back together.

    1. But at least he can trademark the name, thanks to the precedent with The Slants.

  32. “Padden says he became aware of this issue following a dwarf-tossing event last October at the Deja Vu Showgirls strip club in Spokane Valley.”

    What was he doing at a strip club, huh?

    Just kidding. I have no problem with whatever legally consenting and publicly elected figures do in their spare time. In my state that would be considered “bad optics” though, and dude probably wouldn’t get re-elected.

    1. It was research! Or perhaps he didn’t personally go, but heard about the outrage and climbed aboard.

      1. Yeah… whenever somebody mentions something about porn or stripclubs and the like, it’s something of a comedic reflex of mine to ask, “Well how do YOU know about that, hmmm?”

        Do I know there’s other ways people can find out about this shit? Of course. But it’s always funny to subtly accuse them anyway.

    2. He probably just saw the sign. I remember them advertising it too. The local Vu fronts a very busy arterial. So pretty much everyone sees their marquee.

  33. So how about politician tossing instead? I predict a majority of voters would not be upset about that.

    1. Most politicians are tossers.

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    1. Proof that even in tightly sealed chambers the echoes eventually die.

      Also proof that we have hordes of people who have been carefully trained and expensively educated to have zero practical skills.

  35. “Well, no one has seriously proposed banning football or hockey.”

    Give them time…

    1. Yes, and according to many players the NFL is slavery. That should be ended. Those players payed millions could now work at a non slavery job like Walmart or McDonalds.

  36. The reason banning dwarf tossing is popular is because it embarrasses other people. People don’t want to think about human freaks. (They may not even want to think about nonhuman freaks.) They don’t want to be reminded they’re around. They don’t want to be reminded of handicapped or psychotic people either. It was like this w Stuttering John on Howard A. Stern’s program; before that, Stern used to have to stutter for himself. Stern knew people get embarrassed easily, & could confront them w their own embarrassment as a form of social satire.

  37. In other news…Willow is released on Blu-ray on Tuesday. A great time to celebrate the little people in our world.

    RIP Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf.

  38. Of course, this will lead to increases in the price of tossable dwarfs. And then we will see marches and municipal programs to encourage more affordable tossable dwarfs.

  39. Several years ago Florida passed a law against dwarf tossing. All the dwarfs were against it, as they would lose their jobs. The bill passed, anyways.

  40. Even if true, shouldn’t the response be, “And they agree to it anyway, so why is this any of your business?”

  41. The 1990s called, they want their story back.

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