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Hathaway Apologizes for 'Pain' Her Character Is Causing

People with limb differences are pushing back on how characters are depicted in 'The Witches'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2020 8:57 AM CST

(Newser) – Anne Hathaway newest movie, The Witches, based on Roald Dahl's dark fantasy novel from the '80s, came out on HBO Max last month. But it hasn't been receiving the reaction Hathaway and Warner Bros. had hoped for. The main problem: Hathaway's character and the other "witches" in the movie are shown to have just three very long fingers on each hand and no toes on their feet—a depiction that members of the disability community say perpetuates a stigma against people with limb differences, reports Deadline. And now Hathaway is apologizing. "As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty, I owe you all an apology for the pain caused," she wrote in a Thursday Instagram post, noting that she hadn't initially made the association between her character's look and people with limb differences.

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The Paralympic Games also made a point to show that in Dahl's book, the witches simply had clawed fingers, not missing ones or other limb differences. "Limb difference is not scary," the group tweeted. In its own statement Warner Bros. touched on that point, noting its designers and artists had simply tried to create a "new interpretation of the cat-like claws" in Dahl's book, and that the "fantastical, non-human creatures" in the movie weren't supposed to represent any humans. Still, "It is an extremely damaging portrayal," disabilities advocate Shannon Crossland posted on Instagram. "Disability should NOT be associated with evil, abnormality, disgust, fear, or monsters." (British comedian Alex Brooker, who has hand and arm deformities and had his leg amputated when he was a toddler, is another big name pushing back.)

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