Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway has issued an apology after her role as the Grand High Witch in her latest film “The Witches” sparked backlash from the disabled community.
Hathaway’s character is shown with three fingers on each hand, a condition that’s similar in appearance to ectrodactyly, or “split hand.” It’s typically identified by missing central digits on the hand or foot.
The actress in her apology issued on Instagram promised to do better.
“I am sorry,” Hathaway wrote on Instagram Thursday, a day after Warner Bros. issued an apology for the depiction. “I did not connect limb difference with the (Grand High Witch) when the look of the character was brought to me; if I had, I assure you this never would have happened.”
This comes after Amy Marren, a 22-year-old British Paralympic swimmer, called out the film in a tweet Monday, saying she was “disappointed” in the movie’s portrayal.
“Yes, I am fully aware that this is a film, and these are Witches. But Witches are essentially monsters. My fear is that children will watch this film, unaware that it massively exaggerates the Roald Dahl original and that limbs differences begin to be feared,” she wrote. “This opens up all new difficult conversations for those with limb differences and sets back what we are trying to achieve which is to celebrate who you are!”
The official Twitter account for the Paralympic Games backed Marren up in a tweet Tuesday, emphasizing that “limb difference is not scary” and should be “celebrated.”
Grace Mandeville, an illustrator who is part of the disability community, criticized the movie and said she was “so disappointed.”
In response, Hathaway 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,” Hathaway wrote on Thursday, November 5.
“As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty, I owe you all an apology for the pain caused,” she continued. “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.”
The actress continued:
“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 concluded by encouraging her followers to check out the Lucky Fin Project, a nonprofit organization that exists to raise awareness and celebrate children, individuals, and families affected by limb differences.