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NEW ZEALAND –  Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” project was put on hold as a race war broke out between rival Hobbit clans.

It all started when a casting agent told a would-be extra that she was “too dark” to play one of the pint-sized creatures. Briton Dre Bumprey, who has African heritage, attended a casting session in the New Zealand city of Hamilton last week, queuing for three hours only to be told his skin tone was not suitable.

“It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin,” Bumpreys told WWN.

The independent contractor who made the comments and placed an advertisement in a local newspaper specifying female hobbit extras “should have light skin tones”  was dismissed, a spokesman for Wingnut Films said.

“No such instructions were given, the crew member in question took it upon themselves to do that and it’s not something we instructed or condoned,” he told WWN.

But it was too late to put the midget back in the closet.  The Hobbits that are working on the film are mostly light-skinned and they took offense to the darker skinned Hobbits being offended.  “Things got real tense, real quick, real small,” said Little Jeffy Naylor.

There’s been trouble between the dark-skinned midgets and the light-skinned midgets of New Zealand.  In 2004 there was a five-months war between the Little People of Wellington and the Little People of Auckland.   Over two hundred little people, dwarfs and midgets were killed.

Bumprey is stirring the pot.  He has started a Facebook group called “Hire hobbits of all colors! Say no to hobbit racism!”

So what does it take to be a Hobbit?  The essential requirements for potential hobbits, including age, 16-80, and height — below 5 foot 7 inches for men and 5ft 2 in for women.

The additional demand for light skin tones applied only to women.  But that didn’t sit well with the dark-skinned midget men.  “This means war!”   The darker-skinned Hobbits are ready:

The Wizard of Oz is still the gold standard for midget filming.  “There was no race requirement for being in the Wizard of Oz.  They just took the most talented midgets,” said Academy Award winning producer, Joe Patalone.

The Hobbit is scheduled to begin filming in 3D next February with Jackson back in the director’s chair and Martin Freeman from “The Office” starring in the lead role of Bilbo Baggins.