Warner Bros apologises after The Witches sparks backlash over disability


Warner Bros has apologised for causing ‘offense’ following backlash over Anne Hathaway’s character in the new The Witches film.

The film, based on the Roald Dahl classic, features evil characters who have distinct hand and feet abnormalities.

A number of celebrities have spoken out about the film, with some the saying it could add to the ‘fear’ and ‘stigma’ around disability.

Since the release of the film last month, countless people with limb differences shared photographs of themselves on social media, using the hashtag #NotAWitch.



The Witches features evil characters who have distinct hand and feet abnormalities

Comedian Alex Brooker, who has hand and arm impairments, spoke up saying that the images “jarred quite a lot”.

The Last Leg star said that he is ‘sad’ that Anne Hathaway’s character, the Grand High Witch, has long fingers with two digits missing – and found fault that it was not a feature of Roald Dah’s original story.

Sharing his thoughts, the Last Leg presenter told the Daily Star: “As someone with missing fingers, it’s made me so sad to see how this is portrayed as something to be scared of.

“The story is that the witches wear gloves to hide what’s underneath.”



Comedian Alex Brooker, who has hand and arm impairments, spoke up saying that the images “jarred quite a lot”

Alex revealed that the ‘insensitive’ feature brewed up old feelings of shame from when he was a young boy in school.

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“I’ve been that kid who wanted who wanted to wear gloves to hide so it’s heartbreaking to see that stigma reinforced for other children who have different hands to everyone else.”

After the movie’s release on Amazon Prime, Coronation Street star Melissa Johns also spoke out against the portrayal of disabilities.

Melissa, who was born without a right forearm and hand, said that using disability as a costume and to highlight a character as a baddie is “not what we need”.



Anne Hathaway plays the Grand High Witch with hands featuring abnormalities

Meanwhile, British paralympic swimmer Amy Marren said the film could add to the ‘fear’ around disabilites.

Following the controversy, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. Pictures told FEMAIL: “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.

“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.”





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