The Witches: New Movie Gets Slammed for Portrayal of People With Disabilities, Warner Bros. Apologizes

Warner Bros. has officially issued an apology after people with disabilities criticized how Anne Hathaway portrayed her role in the HBO Max remake of "The Witches."

The company spokesperson released a statement with US Weekly, stating how deeply saddened it is to find out that the depiction caused pain among this vulnerable population. It stated that it regretted any offense that might have been 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," the long statement read. "It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them. 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."

It can be remembered that Hathaway's character, Grand High Witch, is a scary and evil one in the movie.

The character has missing fingers, which is similar to the disability known as limb abnormality ectrodactyly or "split hand" disability in short. The condition manifests as the absence of one or more fingers on the hand. If not on the hand, one or more toes on the foot. 

One of the first critics and whom many have supported is British Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren. She said the portrayal of the Grand High Witch was quite upsetting. She added that she is disappointed with Warner Bros. 

"Disappointed in the new Warner Bros film The Witches...I myself am a huge advocate of celebrating differences and especially limb differences," she wrote via Twitter on November 2. 

She added that it is quite common for surgeons to try and build hands like this for children/adults if they have limb differences and it's "upsetting" to witness how something that makes a person different is actually being portrayed as evil and scary. 

As some were bound to defend Anne and "The Witches" movie, justifiying the fact that this is merely a fantasy movie, the athlete quickly put out a disclaimer.

The athlete, 22, added: "Yes, I am fully aware that this is a film, and these are Witches. But Witches are essentially monsters. My fear is that children will watch this film, unaware that it massively exaggerates the Roald Dahl original and that limbs differences begin to be feared. This opens up all new difficult conversations for those with limb differences and sets back what we are trying to achieve which is to celebrate who you are!" 

Anne Hathaway is yet to comment on the controversy, but she is not one to just ignore such a sensitive topic. Back in October, she admitted some apprehension about doing the role but she still went ahead and did it. She told Pop Sugar that she was "really swinging for the fences with the performance" and decided to "put my own spin on it."

The Witches was released on HBO Max on October 22. It is a 1990 movie based on Roald Dahl's 1983 book, wherein the main characters are descriibed as having "square feet with no toes" and "claws instead of fingernails."

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