London’s Hippodrome Brings in Door Dwarves Amidst Controversy

Posted on: November 24, 2013, 05:30h. 

Last updated on: December 10, 2013, 04:39h.

Well-known little person and actor Peter Dinklage is unlikley to be applying at the Hippodrome (Image source: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Well-known little person and actor Peter Dinklage is unlikely to be applying at the Hippodrome (Image source: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

In a controversial move that could be seen as exploitative or helpful – depending on your viewpoint – the owner of the Hippodrome, the largest casino in the UK , has put out an advertisement to let the world know he is looking to hire little people as “door dwarves” at the venue for the holidays.

Risking being called a circus carney, the owner advertised for the positions in the widely read Metro newspaper, stating that the casino is looking to “create a team of Britain’s smallest bouncers – Door Dwarves – for its new entrance in Cranbourn Street.”

Owner Claims Success

According to reports, trials of the initiative, which would introduce a force of people 4 feet 10 inches or smaller to man the entrance to the casino, were said to have gone “fantastically” well, and as a result, the management at the venue has been convinced to introduce the system on a full-time basis.

CEO and chairman of the casino Simon Thomas, attempting to justify the scheme, explained to the media that the system was just the latest in a long line of dwarf employment opportunities at the Leicester Square casino.

“The Hippodrome is a phenomenal London institution. It opened in 1900 as an indoor circus with people like Little Titch on the cast,” explained Thomas, adding that legendary P.T. Barnum had circus performer and little person Tom Thumb perform at the venue back in the day.

“We had high-diving dwarves who dived from the mistrals’ gallery 60-feet up into a water tank,” he added. “So they are very much part of the history of the place.”

How charming can you get. It’s like Cirque du Soleil, but the shortstuff version.

Interesting Logic

Since bouncers are typically very large, wide and menacing-looking characters, who the average Joe would prefer not to cross, hiring a team of smaller personnel does seem like a strange move for the casino if they are looking to deter the riff-raff from causing trouble at the site.

“Nobody messes with a dwarf, so in a way, they are very good doorman,” argued Thomas. “They can handle people much better than having a human eclipse on the door as some of the clubs do in London. Nobody is going to pick on someone who is below-average height. It’s not exactly a macho thing to do, so it is a very good way of controlling the door.

“There is no discrimination at all,” claimed Thomas, building up to borrow probably the most over-used phrase of the 21st century to dispute complaints that the venue may be poking fun at little people. “I find we live in a world of political correctness gone mad.”

But if we are to take the opinion that the job role is not poking fun at little people, should we perhaps take the opinion that it is, at the very least, exploiting them? Thomas himself stated that the initiative is “building on the rich heritage of innovative entertainment” so clearly it is not just their unintimidating stature which he wishes to use.

“I am trying to run a very large entertaining complex and I have a lot of different people with lots of different skills,” explained the Hippodrome chairman. “I have chosen those skills and physical attributes that are appropriate to that job. They are highly professional and have got to get on with it.”

Okay okay, don’t get short with us, sir.