The group Little People of America called Sunday for the Federal Communications Commission to ban the use of the word "midget" on broadcast TV.
Leaders of the group said the word, which was prominently featured in an episode of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice," is as offensive as racial slurs.
"Historically, the word 'midget' has been used to objectify people, like in the circus," said Clinton Brown III, co-chairman of the 52nd Annual National Conference of Little People of America, which is taking place in New York this week. "We're in the 21st century. We're beyond that."
In the April 5 "Celebrity Apprentice" episode, contestants including Joan Rivers created a detergent ad called "Jesse James and the Midgets." The contestants suggested bathing little people in the detergent and hanging them to dry.
Members of Little People of America responded by filing a complaint with the FCC.
"This is not just a complaint but a kickoff to educate Americans unaware that the 'M-word' is offensive to little people," said Michael Petruzzelli, whose 6-year-old son is a little person.
Calls to the FCC and "Celebrity Apprentice" host Donald Trump were not returned Sunday. NBC Universal representatives didn't immediately respond to e-mail messages, and the telephone rang unanswered at their Los Angeles office.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.