Time seems to be a bit challenging for Anne Hathaway. It’s been days since she is being tracked out and criticized for her negative portrayal of ‘differently-abled kids’ through her recent movie ‘The Witches’. Though the movie came out to be a spectacular success in her career, the depiction of the disabled community has overshadowed its victory. Of late, the criticisms has found its termination point with the apology made by the actress for a negative exhibition of limb difference.
In “The Witches,”a new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1983 children’s novel Anne Hathway’s character, the Grand High Witch, has three fingers on each hand that resemble the congenital disorder ectrodactyly. The witch ringleader and her cronies, who hunt down children and turn them into mice, also have no toes. Disability advocates have criticized the HBO Max film for portraying those with limb differences as monsters, using the hashtag #NotaWitch to share photos showing their own limb differences. Even a petition was being shared to boycott the film over the star’s depiction of the Grand High Witch.
Esteemed Organizations expressed distaste at the insensitive remarks against the ‘Disabled’ in ‘The Witches’
In response, the actress issued an apology exactly two weeks after the release of the movie. The actor said this would not have happened had she made the connection between limb differences and the look of her character. Hathaway apologized for her lack of awareness about limb differences in particular.“I am sorry,” the Oscar winner wrote in a statement posted to Instagram Thursday. “I did not connect the limb difference with the GHW [Grand High Witch] when the look of the character was brought to me; if I had, I assure you this never would have happened. She also added “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. 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.” Following this, she promised to “do better” in the coming future.
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Many other celebrities including Paralympian Amy Marren, actress Melissa Johns, and writer-director Ashley Eakin, and organizations including the Lucky Fin Project, Reach, and Changing Faces unanimously stood by the disability advocates and blasted the film for perpetuating negative stereotypes against people with limb differences.
The film’s creators and Warner Bros also issued an apology, saying they were deeply saddened to learn that the depiction had upset people with disabilities.“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,” the studio said.“It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them,” Warner Bros. said. “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.”
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film released on October 22. The movie also stars Octavia Spencer, Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, Stanley Tucci and Kristin Chenoweth, with narration from Chris Rock. Hathaway is the second actress to play the Grand High Witch after Anjelica Huston in the 1990 film “The Witches.” In the previous one, the witches concealed their bald heads with wigs and facial features with “human” masks. They had no toes, but they did not have ectrodactyly.