Anne Hathaway has apologized to the disability community over criticism surrounding her new movie, The Witches.
Earlier this week, the Warner Bros. adaptation of Roald Dahl's book came under fire for its portrayal of the evil Grand High Witch. In the film, the character — played by Hathaway — has three fingers on each hand, which many pointed out is similar in appearance to a congenital disorder called ectrodactyly.
In response to the backlash, Hathaway took to her Instagram on Thursday to issue a statement apologizing to children with limb differences and their families.
"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," she said, alongside a video from limb difference non-profit, Lucky Fin Project..
She continued: "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 then went on to say that she owed them an apology "as someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty," before adding that if she had made the connection between limb difference and the Grand High Witch's look, "this never would have happened."
Additionally, Warner Bros. issued a statement after the emergence of the #NotAWitch hashtag, saying that 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."
"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," the statement added. "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."
See Hathaway's entire apology post, below.
View this post on Instagram
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.
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