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06 November 2020 12:34

Ian Wright Arsenal F.C. Match of the Day

The Witches: Anne Hathaway apologises for ‘extremely damaging’ depiction of people with disabilities

"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," its statement continued. A nne Hathaway has apologised after the depiction of her character's hands in The Witches film was accused of being insensitive to disabled people. The latest adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1983 book stars Hathaway as the Grand High Witch, who has three elongated fingers on each hand. Both the novel and the 1990 film starring Anjelica Huston portrayed the witches as having five fingers. (Anne Hathaway in The Witches / AP) The Witches star Anne Hathaway has apologised after the depiction of her character's hands in the film was accused of being insensitive towards disabled people.

Campaigners have heavily criticised the latest adaptation of the Roald Dahl book after Hathaway's lead character – the Grand High Witch – is shown with what appears to be Ectrodactyly, a limb abnormality sometimes referred to as "split hand". This detail is not a part of the character's description in Dahl's novel and was added in by the makers of the film, who "worked with designers and artists to come up with a new interpretation of the cat-like claws" mentioned in the original text. British Para swimmer Amy Marren was among those criticising director Robert Zemeckis's recent adaptation, saying its depiction of the witches' hands could be harmful to people – especially children – with limb impairments. Academy Award-winner Hathaway has now joined studio Warner Bros in issuing an apology and said: "Now that I know better I promise I'll do better". She wrote on Instagram: "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. Hathaway also shared a video from the Lucky Fin Project, an organisation supporting those with limb differences. A Warner Bros representative said filmmakers were "deeply saddened" at causing upset. The recent Robert Zemeckis-directed adaptation of The Witches, starring Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch, received backlash from many in the disabled community for equating physical differences with villainy. apologised, saying in a statement that they were "saddened" by learning they had offended people with disabilities and "regret any offence caused." In the film, the Grand High Witch has three fingers.

In real life, this limb abnormality is called Ectrodactyly, or more commonly referred to as "split hand." Many in the disabled community took issue with the fact that this portrayal was meant to be scary — the witches in this story are basically child-hating monsters — thus perpetuating stereotypes that disability is something to be afraid of. Craig Spence, the Chief Brand & Communications Officer for the Paralympics, tweeted his frustration that this a trope that Hollywood often feeds into. Disability is not something to be scared of, it is something to be celebrated and embraced, not portrayed as something sinister," he wrote. Stop stigmatising persons with disabilities in films as evil. Disability is not something to be scared of, it is something to be celebrated and embraced, not portrayed as something sinister.

RespectAbility, a disability advocacy group, underscored that the movie business's failure to think critically about these issues is hurting the perception of people with disabilities. "The decision to make this witch look scarier by having a limb difference — which was not an original part of the plot — has real life consequences," RespectAbility's vice president of communications Lauren Appelbaum told Variety. "Unfortunately, this representation in 'The Witches' teaches kids that limb differences are hideous or something to be afraid of. What type of message does this send to children with limb differences?" apologised and explained that Hathaway's character's hands were a specific choice they made when adapting the original Roald Dahl 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.

Former Bake Off contestant Briony Williams has said the depiction of the characters' hands in new film The Witches brought tears to her eyes. The adaptation of Roald Dahl's book stars Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch. The character has three elongated fingers on each hand and campaigners have accused the film of linking disability or physical impairments to evil characters. Read more: Hathaway will give kids nightmares with Witches transformation Comedian Alex Brooker, who has hand and arm impairments, has said the images "jarred quite a lot" and British Para swimmer Amy Marren said she was "disappointed and angry", as the depiction of the witches' hands could be harmful to people – especially children – with limb impairments. Williams, who was born without any fingers on her left hand, has now added her voice to the backlash in an emotional message on Instagram. "I've kept quiet about the controversy surrounding the depiction of the witches' hands in the new film version of the Roald Dahl classic but I can't anymore because it's really got to me. "I want to point out a few things first and that is in the original book, the witches were not described as missing fingers, they had claws instead of nails which they used gloves to cover. In the 1990 version of the film, they didn't give the witches missing fingers (as you can see in the pics). "I see my genetic disorder that caused me to be born without any fingers on my left hand. This is about showcasing limb difference as ugly, scary, gross and evil. "They didn't need to do this, look at the book, the original film. When I was on Bake Off, I had people tweet me saying I look like the guy on Freddy Got Fingered. I feel desperately sad for those people out there, especially children, with a limb difference who are ashamed of it or embarrassed because this will knock them harder than you know. Warner Bros has apologised for the depiction of the witches and Hathaway has also said sorry, assuring fans: "Now that I know better I promise I'll do better." She wrote on Instagram: "As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty, I owe you all an apology for the pain caused. "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." Watch: Anne Hathaway apologises to limb difference community Read more: Bake Off's Briony Williams explains why she wants to 'own' her disability label She added: "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." Dahl's 1983 book portrayed the witches as having five fingers, as did the 1990 big screen adaptation starring Anjelica Huston.