‘The Witches’ Character Design Sparks Criticisms From Disability Community
By Thanussha Priyah, 05 Nov 2020
Video screenshot via Warner Bros.
This week, the upcoming film The Witches, based on Roald Dahl’s book, faced backlash for its inclusion of the evil character’s differently formed hands.
Anne Hathaway’s character plays the supreme witch in the film with hands that appear as a real-world disability, and many social media users questioned the film’s intention.
The witches in the novel were illustrated to have claws instead of fingernails. However, Hathaway’s character seemed to mimic ectrodactyly, a condition, also known as “split hand,” where there is an absence of one or more digits of a hand or foot.
Many Paralympians and disability advocates called out the creators for associating the disability with the witches, who are depicted as evil in a horror genre.
“Limb difference is not scary. Differences should be celebrated and disability has to be normalized. #NotAWitch calls out #TheWitches movie for portrayal of disability,” the Paralympics Games’ Twitter account wrote.
Later on, Warner Bros. released an apology to Deadline, stating that it wasn’t intended to cause offense to anyone.
“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 statement read. “It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them.”
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Limb difference is not scary. Differences should be celebrated and disability has to be normalised. #NotAWitch calls out ‘#TheWitches’ movie for portrayal of disability 👉 https://t.co/aSY1U6TymE pic.twitter.com/UCU87bUeV8— Paralympic Games (@Paralympics) November 3, 2020
[via Complex, cover image via Warner Bros.]
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