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UPDATED 11/6, 10:10 a.m. ET: Anne Hathaway personally issued an apology for the character design in The Witches, and in the process spotlighted the Lucky Fin Project nonprofit, which “exists to raise awareness and celebrate children, individuals, and families affected by limb differences.”
“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,” Hathaway captioned her repost of a Lucky Fin Project PSA, below. “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. 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.”
Hathaway continued, “I particularly want to say I’m sorry to kids with limb differences: 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. If you aren’t already familiar, please check out the @Lucky_Fin_Project (video above) and the #NotAWitch hashtag to get a more inclusive and necessary perspective on limb difference.”
See original story below.
A character design choice on the remake of The Witches has landed the team behind the movie in trouble with disability advocates. After viewers noticed that the titular witches in the new take on Roald Dahl’s story have uniquely disfigured hands that mimic a real-world disability, they questioned the creators on social media.
Anne Hathaway’s supreme witch in the film is shown with hands that mirror ectrodactyly, a condition also known as “split hand,” in which several digits of a hand or foot are not present. The witches of the novel are said to have claws instead of fingernails, and squared off feet. Illustrations and descriptions from the source material show no difference in the shape of a witch’s hand.
Warner Bros told Deadline it meant no offense to any people with the design of the witches.
“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,” they said. “It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them.”
Studio representatives told the publication they were “deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in The Witches could upset people with disabilities” and “regretted any offense caused.”