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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 10:58 GMT
Dwarf group head supports TV show
The head of a US advocacy group has supported a dwarf-dating show called The Littlest Groom, saying it could boost its members profiles.

The Little People of America's president Matt Roloff said it would show dwarves "just being themselves".

The show will see dwarf women compete with women of average height for the attentions of a 4-foot-5-inch bachelor.

"Hiding us behind closed doors or in funny costumes will never give us the exposure needed," Mr Roloff said.

The announcement of the show, which will be aired on the Fox network in the US on 16 and 23 February, prompted objectors to send letters of protest to the Little People of America (LPA).

Not judging

Mr Roloff said the producers of the show had met with him to make sure the programme was being developed in a sensitive way.

The LPA is not officially endorsing the show, and Mr Roloff said he would not judge the programme until he had seen it.

"My sense is that they probably didn't do anything too derogatory," he said.

But he did say the inclusion of average-sized women into the show was potentially harmful to the LPA's members.

The US has more than 100,000 people who have dwarfism, a medical condition that results in an adult having a height of no more than 4-foot-10-inches and disproportionately small arms and legs.

Littlest Groom Executive Producer Bill Paolantonio said the show was "a celebration of diversity".

"We have gone to great lengths to make sure everybody on this program is treated with dignity and respect," he said.

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