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Anne Hathaway Apologizes For ‘The Witches’ Three-Fingered Character Design After Backlash

Actress Anne Hathaway has issued an apology after The Witches received backlash for its portrayal of witches in the film. In the movie, witches, and most notably Anne Hathaway’s character, are identified by having three-fingered hands. This upset audiences that felt the portrayal was offensive to “limb different” audiences.

While the three-fingered hands were used to make the witches appear less human, it also made them appear more like people with the real life disorder known as “ectrodactyly.” As you can imagine, it’s a condition featuring the deficiency or absence of one or more central digits of the hand or foot.

Of course, the use of identifiable hands for the witches can be traced back to the original book created by Roald Dahl. The book included an illustration titled “How to Recognise a Witch,” which included “claws hidden by gloves” as one of the trademark means to spot a witch. Although there was never anything mentioned about the number of fingers on their hands.

As you can imagine, many individuals responded negatively to the portrayal of three-fingered hands in the film. A hashtag (#notawitch) began trending on Twitter, with many upset about the movie.

https://twitter.com/CatrinPugh/status/1323710776641753088?s=20

https://twitter.com/Paralympics/status/1323591880689504258?s=20

After voicing their thoughts on social media, it prompted Warner Bros. to release an official statement on the matter, via CNN:

They stated they were “deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in THE WITCHES could upset people with disabilities, and regret any offense caused”, and noted the three-fingered hands were merely “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,” explained Warner Bros. “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.

Anne Hathaway thus shared her own apology as well. She used her Instagram page to share a video from the Lucky Fin Project, a “nonprofit organization that exists to raise awareness and celebrate children and individuals born with symbrachydactyly or other limb differences.”

She then stated:

“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,” Hathaway said.

She added, “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.”

“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.”

 

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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. 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. 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.

A post shared by Anne Hathaway (@annehathaway) on

The Witches is currently streaming on HBO Max.

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