Not long after Robert Zemeckis’ THE WITCHES was met with complaints from the disabled community for how Anne Hathaway’s Grand High Witch is physically portrayed in the film, Hathaway herself has issued an apology to those offended by the character.
“I have recently learned that many people with limb differences, especially children, are in pain because of the portrayal of the Grand High Witch in The Witches,” Hathway explained. “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.”
When posting her heartfelt apology to Instagram, Hathaway also included a powerful video featuring a variety of individuals who identify as having a limb difference. You can watch the inspiring video below:
Earlier this week, the Warner Bros family film was called out for being insensitive towards people with Ectrodactyly, a limb abnormality that’s commonly referred to as “split hand.” In a statement, the studio said it “regretted any offense caused.” Those who’ve spoken out against the character say that they’re concerned about the movie sending the wrong message to children – that people with physical abnormalities are villains or should be perceived as scary.
In response to the criticism, a Warner Bros. spokesperson offered the following statement:
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 reads. “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.
While some studio apologies can often come off as insincere or passive-aggressive, Hathaway appears to have learned from this unfortunate experience and has vowed to be far more diligent when approaching roles in the future. We live in a time when discontent can spread quickly online, and marginalized voices that were once buried among the ether can now be heard loud and clear. At the end of the day, people want to be entertained, not villanized. After all, there’s already more than enough of that going around.