Anne Hathaway has issued an apology after her new movie “The Witches,” received massive amounts of backlash for the way it portrays people with limb differences.
Many fans were eager to tune into the remake of Roald Dahl’s classic novel The Witches, released last month, upon tuning in to the HBO film, many were left feeling upset and disappointed by Anne Hathaway’s Grand High Witch character, who has three fingers on each hand.
Activists immediately targeted the portrayal of the witch, claiming that it was severely played up and essentially mocked people with similar limb disabilities, including ectrodactyly, which is more commonly known as “split hand.”
Earlier this week, the official Paralympic Games Twitter account shared screenshots of Paralympian Amy Marren’s Instagram story that called out the film. In her post, she wrote, “Disappointed in the new Warner Bros. film The Witches. I, myself, am a huge advocate of celebrating differences, and especially limb differences,”
Adding that it’s “upsetting to something that makes a person different being represented as something scary.”
Amy was quick to add that she’s aware that this is just a movie and that these are witches, but made the argument that “witches are essentially monsters,” adding “My fear is that children will watch this film, unaware that it massively exaggerates the Roald Dahl original and that limbs differences begin to be feared.”
In her closing statement, Amy simply wanted to point out that this type of portrayal vastly sets us back from what we’ve been trying to achieve, which is to celebrate who you are. Her statement has gained traction among the Interwebs, so much so, that the hashtag #NotAWitch began trending throughout the week.
Many others who have limb differences are proudly posting photos of their physical differences. The backlash became so intense throughout the week that it even caught the attention of Anne Hathaway, who plays the Grand High Witch with three fingers on each hand, to which she issued a public apology via Instagram on Thursday.
While sharing a video of people who have limb differences, Anne wrote, “I have recently learned that many people with limb differences, especially children, are in pain because of the portrayal of the Grand High Witch in The Witches. As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty, I owe you all an apology for the pain caused. I am sorry. I did not connect limb difference with the GHW when the look of the character was brought to me; if I had, I assure you this never would have happened.”
Anne went on to apologize specifically to children with limb differences, adding “Now that I know better I promise I’ll do better. And I owe a special apology to everyone who loves you as fiercely as I love my own kids: I’m sorry I let your family down.”
She then reverted fans’ attention to a video from the Lucky Fin Project, which is a nonprofit organization that aids children with limb differences. She also mentioned the #NotAWitch in order to “get a more inclusive and necessary perspective on limb difference.”
Anne’s apology was met with overwhelming praise from fans who deeply appreciated the way she handled the situation.
Since then, Warner Bros. has also issued a statement apologizing for the way they depicted these characters, saying “We the filmmakers and Warner Bros. Pictures are deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in The Witches could upset people with disabilities and regret any offense caused.”
They went on to explain that, “In adapting the original story, we worked with designers and artists to come up with a new interpretation of the cat-like claws that are described in the book, and that it was “never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them.”
As of now, the film remains on the HBO platform as Warner Bros. concluded in their statement by saying that the film is about “the power of kindness and friendship.” and that their hope is only for families and children to enjoy the film and “embrace this empowering, love-filled theme.”
(Image Source: Anne Hathaway Instagram)