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Witches Movie Angers People With Real-Life Hand Condition

'What sort of message does this give?'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2020 5:38 PM CST

(Newser) – People with disabilities say they're extremely disappointed with moviemakers who gave the scary, evil witches in a new adaptation of The Witches features that strongly resemble a real disability. In Roald Dahl's book, the witches are described as having "thin curvy claws" instead of fingernails, but the new Warner Bros movie depicts them with three long fingers on each hand, resembling the hands of people with ectrodactyly, also known as "split hand," the BBC reports. "What sort of message does this give?" says comedian Alex Brooker, who has hand and arm impairments. "To me It sends out a message that we should be scared of people with missing fingers. A lot of kids and adults have that—that's a life people live. It doesn't need to add to the stigma."

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Thanks to the movie, "my hands are now associated with a witch," disability advocate Shannon Crossland said in an Instagram post. "Used to frighten children and spark fear. Used to demonize a fictional character and make her appearance more grotesque. ... Disability should NOT be associated with evil, abnormality, disgust, fear, or monsters." The hashtag #NotAWitch started trending after the movie was released last week. Warner Bros says it is "deeply saddened" to learn the depiction "could upset people with disabilities." "It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them," the company said in a statement, per E! Online.
. (Read more disability stories.)

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