Anne Hathaway apologizes for negative portrayal of limb difference in The Witches
"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," the actress wrote in an Instagram post Thursday. "Let me begin by saying I do my best to be sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others not out of some scrambling PC fear, but because not hurting others seems like a basic level of decency we should all be striving for. 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."
Hathaway went on to say she had not made the connection to limb difference when the look of the character was brought to her, or "this never would've happened."
"I particularly want to say I'm sorry to kids with limb differences: now that I know better I promise I'll do better," she wrote. "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."
Directed by Robert Zemeckis and released Oct. 22, The Witches came under criticism for its depiction of limb difference this week from individuals including Paralympian Amy Marren, actress Melissa Johns, and writer-director Ashley Eakin, and organizations including the Lucky Fin Project, Reach, and Changing Faces. On social media, the hashtag #NotAWitch was created to share videos and photos of people with limb difference to help counter stereotypes perpetuated in Hollywood productions.
In a statement Wednesday, the film's creators and studio said in a statement, "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."