Anne Hathaway has apologised to viewers of The Witches who were left upset by the portrayal of her character having a limb disability.
The actress, 37, plays the Grand High Witch in the adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1983 children’s classic, and is seen with fingers missing from her hands.
Viewers were left upset that the missing fingers were too similar to ectrodactyly, a congenital disorder which involves the deficiency or absence of one or more of the central digits of the hand or foot.
They also pointed out that the original illustrations from the book saw the witches with all five fingers, which had ‘claws’ that they hid using gloves.
Anne shared a video from the Lucky Fin Project on her Instagram page, writing: ‘Big thanks to the @Lucky_Fin_Project for allowing me to use this video.
‘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.
‘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.’
Anne 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.
‘If you aren’t already familiar, please check out the @Lucky_Fin_Project(video above) and the #NotAWitchhashtag to get a more inclusive and necessary perspective on limb difference.’
Warner Bros, the studio behind the film, also issued an apology, saying: ‘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.
‘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.’
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