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P.T. Barnum Facing Accusations of Hiring Discrimination Against Able-bodied Applicants

NEW YORK — Famed entertainment pioneer P.T. Barnum has come under fire for systematically excluding able-bodied performers in his circus.

Critics have pointed out that Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth, which features a wide array of animal acts, acrobatics, and abuse, has a disproportionate number of disabled performers.

Barnum insisted that he hires based entirely on merit, and that overrepresentation of disabled performers is a coincidence.

“I look for the people who can best fit the roles of freaks and human oddities,” said Barnum as he repaired the stitching on the Feejee Mermaid. “If an able-bodied person can do that, I hire them on the spot.”

An anonymous spectator exclaimed, “Oh come on with that excuse! It’s 1861 — get with the times!”

“Just because we don’t have easily-exploitable abnormalities doesn’t make us less capable,” said able-bodied Nancy Hallett, casually juggling five balls. “It’s not fair. We didn’t choose to be born this way.”

Barnum was quick to defend himself. “I hire a ton of able-bodied people. In fact, most of my peanut salesmen and dung scoopers are able-bodied. You might recognize …” he trailed off, focusing on straightening a poster of Tom Thumb.

Barnum then exclaimed, “Nobody would pay a dime to gawk at normal people!” and stormed away. He returned several seconds later to remind everyone that the show starts at 7.

The post P.T. Barnum Facing Accusations of Hiring Discrimination Against Able-bodied Applicants appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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Originally published as P.T. Barnum Facing Accusations of Hiring Discrimination Against Able-bodied Applicants at https://the-squeaky-wheel.com/

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