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The Daily Beast: "Little People, Big Controversy: Game of Thrones and Life’s Too Short"

Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage used the Golden Globes last month to draw attention to a dwarf-tossing attack in England. But with the launch of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s Life’s Too Short on HBO, it’s hard to imagine a stranger time to be premiering a potentially exploitative comedy about a dwarf.

At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "Little People, Big Controversy: Game of Thrones and Life’s Too Short," in which I look at Ricky Gervais' new HBO comedy Life's Too Short and ponder its exploitative potential.

When Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor last month, he used the award show’s significant global viewing audience to name-check Martin Henderson, to whom he dedicated his award.

While millions of viewers raced to Google Henderson at Dinklage’s suggestion, it quickly became clear that he was not speaking of the Australian actor (who costarred in The Ring), but rather a 37-year-old English dwarf who was the victim of a vicious pub attack in October that left him forced to use a wheelchair and crutches after a patron tossed him through the air.

The attack against the 4-foot-2 Henderson was news to Americans, but it came on the heels of a well-publicized incident in the U.K., in which media reports surfaced that England’s rugby World Cup team had attended a dwarf-tossing event in New Zealand. Henderson has indicated that the two incidents could be related, with the rugby players’ behavior perhaps giving his attacker the idea. (Dwarf tossing is currently illegal in several U.S. states, including New York and Florida.)

Given that the majority of awards-show acceptance speeches are laundry lists of thanks, it was refreshing to see Dinklage use the opportunity to shine a spotlight on a story of which few were aware. Dinklage, best known until now as the star of The Station Agent, was born with achondroplasia, a genetic disorder that causes dwarfism, and at 4 foot 5 is just slightly taller than Henderson. He currently stars as Tyrion Lannister on the HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones (based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin), and has so far won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the cunning, ruthless, and charismatic schemer.

Continue reading at The Daily Beast...

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