Hollywood News

The Witches: Anne Hathaway Apologises for Negative Portrayal of People With Disabilities 

After Warner Bros’s apology for the portrayal of actor Anne Hathaway‘s character in The Witches, Hathaway also posted an apology on Thursday, after people with disabilities called out the film’s makers for its problematic depiction of the character.


In the film, Hathaway plays the role of Grand Witch, who appears to be missing two fingers from each hand. People with disabilities have pointed out the film has added to the stigma around disabilities, as her character appeared to be suffering from ectrodactyly, a condition of limb abnormality also known as ‘split hand’.

She uploaded a post on Instagram by the Lucky Fin Project, a non-profit organisation that raises awareness on people with limb differences, and wrote: “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. I am sorry. 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.”

Many people with disabilities pointed out that Hathaway’s villainous representation, with physical defects, might create a stereotype that specially-abled are abnormal or scary.

“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,” she added.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film is based on British writer Roald Dahl’s 1983 novel of the same name.


“We the filmmakers and Warner Bros. Pictures are deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in The Witches could upset people with disabilities, and regret any offense caused,” Warner Bros said in a statement, as per a report in Variety.

“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. It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them,” the statement added.

Calling out the production house on Twitter on Monday, Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren wrote that she was disappointed in the film and that it had come as a setback to the limb difference community and efforts to celebrating differences.

“I myself am a huge advocate of celebrating differences and especially limb differences. 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,” Marren wrote.

The Witches premiered on HBO Max on October 22.