Actress Anne Hathaway has apologised to the disabled community after her character in The Witches drew criticism.
The actress plays the iconic villain Grand High Witch in a new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s famous 1983 children’s book, and her character is missing fingers.
Hathaway took to Instagram and explained how she “learned that many people with limb differences, especially children, are in pain” because of her role, reports etonline.com.
“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,” Hathaway wrote along with a video of people with limb differences.
“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.”
“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,” Hathaway said.
Viewers had earlier pointed out that the character’s hands are similar to those with the limb abnormality ectrodactyly, also known as “split hand”.
Following the backlash, Warner Bros. also issued a statement saying it “regrets any offense caused”.
“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,” the statement read.
“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. 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,” the statement added.
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