Disability community calls out The Witches for negative portrayal of limb difference
Warner Bros. responded to the backlash saying they "regret any offense caused."
Hathaway stars as the Grand High Witch in the second adaptation of Roald Dahl's book of the same name for the big screen, a powerful and evil being with missing fingers. The character's condition resembles that of ectrodactyly, a congenital disorder that involves the deficiency or absence of one or more digits of the hand or foot.
Paralympian Amy Marren was motivated to speak out against the new Robert Zemeckis directed film to educate the public about limb differences and why giving evil characters disabilities that affect everyday people perpetuates stereotypes.
"@WarnerBrosUK was there much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would affect the limb difference community?!" she posted via Twitter.
Marren and other members of the limb difference community are sharing photos and videos of themselves and their children as part of the #NotAWitch campaign in an effort to normalize their condition.
Warner Bros. released a statement to EW in response to the criticism on Wednesday.
"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," it reads. "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. It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them. This film is about the power of kindness and friendship. It is our hope that families and children can enjoy the film and embrace this empowering, love-filled theme."
The Lucky Fin Project, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness, supporting, and celebrating those born with symbrachydactyly or limb difference, rejected the studio's apology, which they deem "empty."
"This is a teachable moment, and the apology is empty without any action taken by @wbpictures @hbomax," they shared on Twitter. "How about a disclaimer before the film and links to educate viewers about actual limb different community."
To learn more about limb difference, check out the video below.