televisionAnthony Laborde, 40, a regular face on “Fort Boyard,” expressed concern in an interview about the possibility of dwarfs disappearing from the show. In the French newspaper ‘Sud Ouest’, Laborde expressed his fear that the growing criticism would eventually dissuade these actors from appearing in the popular show.
“If all these good guys make tigers disappear, they’ll probably bring down the pygmies, too,” says Laborde, who has appeared on “Fort Boyard” since 2004. “We joke about it, but we’re still a little anxious. If they hide us, it won’t make any sense.”
Recently, there has been growing criticism of “Fort Boyard”, which has been accused of wanting to create a “freak show”. Violet Vianay, president of a French association of dwarfed people, lamented the roles dwarves played in Fort Boyard. “Short actors are reduced to extras and judged solely on their physical appearance,” she said. “The fact that they can’t express themselves contributes to a degrading image, which is particularly detrimental to the way little people are viewed in public.”
In 2022, after the adoption of a law banning the use of animals in circuses, all tigers appearing in the show have already been replaced by virtual animals. Should dwarves now fear the same fate? However, Laborde and his colleague André Boucher refute all criticism: “If I had the feeling that I was being exploited, I would have resigned immediately. This show has changed my life and the lives of many unknown dwarfs in France.”
“If it wasn’t for my disability, I wouldn’t have had this life. It was my strength and opportunity in the end,” Anthony Laborde continued on “Sud Ouest.” He says he earns 300 euros per broadcast and records nine episodes each summer. Additionally, he supplements his income by organizing magic shows, fan meet-ups, and store autograph sessions.
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