People with disabilities hurt by 'The Witches,' Warner Bros. apologizes
Warner Bros. has been scoring brownie points with its superhero movie line-up, but its fantasy/comedy The Witches has hit a rough rock that it shouldn't have. The big sticking issue with the film is the portrayal of the characters (witches), including the one played by Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway, or more precisely their fingers, which look strikingly similar to a health disorder.
The witches in the film are shown to have three fingers. This is called Ectrodactyly (lobster claw hand), a skeletal defect in which the hands and/or legs of the person has one or multiple fingers (digits) missing. Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren called out the studio for the portrayal and was supported by The Paralympic Games and non-profit organization for disability awareness, RespectAbility through comments.
"[Warner Bros.] was there much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would effect the limb difference community?!" Marren asked on Twitter. "It's not unusual for surgeons to try and build hands like this for children/adults with certain limb differences, and it's upsetting to something that makes a person different being represented as something scary," she wrote on Instagram later.
The Witches, based on a children's book by Roald Dahl, has its cover art showing a witch with all five fingers. Its 1990 adaptation, starring Anjelica Huston, showed the witches had five fingers but the 2020 remake appears to have exaggerated the appearance. A Warner Bros spokesperson said, "We are deeply saddened to learn that our depiction in The Witches upset people with disabilities."
As the WB spokesperson "regretted any offense caused," Hathaway gave a lengthy apology, adding that she couldn't link the appearance with the disability. "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'm sorry I let your family down," Hathaway wrote on Instagram.