For Millennials. By Millennials.
Robert Zemeckis’ new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” got everyone excited. “The Witches” trailer dropped a month ago and created a lot of buzz. Mainly because of Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Grand High Witch. However, it now seems that the same character has disappointed a larger part of the audience. Keep on reading to find out why.
“The Witches” received major backlash and disappointment for its depiction of disabilities. The Grand High Witch played by Anne Hathaway, has three-fingered hands that resemble the congenital disorder ectrodactyly. Many in the disability community shared that it was adding to the stigma that disabled people already face.
However, Anne Hathaway took to Instagram on Thursday to issue an apology for the disappointing depiction.
“I am sorry. I did not connect limb difference with the Grand High Witch when the look of the character was brought to me. If I had, I assure you this never would have happened. As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty. I owe you all an apology for the pain caused.”
Anne said on an informational video from the Lucky Fin Project. Which is a nonprofit organization raising awareness of limb differences.
Moreover, Warner Bros. also issued an apology
The production studio behind the movie, The Witches, also addressed the backlash. It issued an official statement apologizing for the offense it caused:
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.
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.
Criticism Received For Anne’s Grand High Witch
Moreover, the movie was called out by Amy Marren through a tweet. Amy said she was “disappointed” in the movie’s portrayal of the character played by Anne.
Amy continued, “Yes, I am fully aware that this is a film. And these are Witches. But Witches are essentially monsters. 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. This opens up all new difficult conversations for those with limb differences. And sets back what we are trying to achieve which is to celebrate who you are!”
@WarnerBrosUK was there much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would effect the limb difference community?! @ReachCharity @RoaldFull pic.twitter.com/kiTEAuYt7i
— Amy Marren (@amy_marren) November 2, 2020
However, the official Twitter account for the Paralympic Games also backed Amy up. It emphasized that limb differences should be celebrated instead of being feared.
Limb difference is not scary. Differences should be celebrated and disability has to be normalised. #NotAWitch calls out ‘#TheWitches’ movie for portrayal of disability 👉 https://t.co/aSY1U6TymE pic.twitter.com/UCU87bUeV8
— Paralympic Games (@Paralympics) November 3, 2020
And another person to criticize the movie was Grace Mandeville, an illustrator. However, that is not all. She is also part of the disability community. And Grace took to Twitter as well to express her disappointment with the movie’s portrayal.
Who thought it was a good idea to add in a disability just to make a witch more scary? When it’s not even written in the book or in the original movie?” Mandeville tweeted. She also attached the cover of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches.” “Yes, this is just a movie to some. But this effects the perception of the disabled much more than you know.”
Who thought it was a good idea to add in a disability just to make a witch more scary when it's not even written in the book or in the original movie? Yes, this is just a movie to some, but this effects the perception of the disabled much more than you know. #TheWitches
— Grace Mandeville (@GraceMandeville) November 2, 2020