Give Me a Break: Dwarf-Tossing

ByABC News
March 7, 2002, 8:00 PM

March 8 -- Dave Flood is angry, because he says his rights are being violated: "I'm a dwarf and I want to be tossed," he said.

Tossed? Well, yes, it's actually done around the world, often in bars. Men compete to see who can throw dwarves the farthest.

The whole thing repulses me, and maybe you, too. But do we get to decide for Flood?

He said he can make money being tossed. He's already a showman in Tampa, Fla., earning cash doing other seedy things like working as a referee in a strip bar, as women pretend to wrestle.

And he's a regular on a radio show that is fighting a Florida law banning dwarf-tossing.

Little People of America

Several years ago, Robert and Angela Van Ettan, members of a group called Little People of America, convinced Florida's legislators that dwarf-tossing should be illegal. The vote wasn't close. Dwarf-tossing is not a sport, they argued, and the dwarf is objectified."

"Think of football," said Angela Van Ettan. "The dwarf actually is the ball. He's the object of the competitions Being objectified is dehumanized."

And, they argued, it's dangerous.

"You're dealing with individuals who are tanked up on some alcohol," said Robert, "and when you're in this kind of activity you have a higher risk of paralysis or possibly even death."

But, asks Flood, why do the Little People of America and the politicians get to decide for him? Don't we own our own bodies? Don't adults have the right to use their bodies as we see fit?

"I'm a grown man. I'm 37 years old, I could protect myself," he said. "I don't need them to tell me what I should and shouldn't be able to do."

Making Money With Your Body

Flood just wants to use his body to make money. "I'm capitalizing on what I have. If I was 7 feet tall, I'd get paid to put a basketball through a hoop. I'm not 7 feet tall. I'm 3-feet-2 and a dwarf, so I'm capitalizing on getting tossed."

Lots of people make money with their bodies: Boxers, football players, fashion models. Plenty of actresses have enhanced their careers by having their breasts enlarged, and other surgeries. Is that less risky than being tossed?