Anne Hathaway apologises for disability controversy over 'The Witches'

Tom Butler
·Senior Editor
·2-min read
Anne Hathaway in The Witches (Credit: Warner Bros)
Anne Hathaway in The Witches (Credit: Warner Bros)

Anne Hathaway has apologised after the depiction of her character’s hands in The Witches film was accused of being insensitive towards disabled people.

The latest adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1983 book stars Hathaway as the Grand High Witch, who has three elongated fingers on each hand.

Both the novel and the 1990 film starring Anjelica Huston portrayed the witches as having five fingers.

British Para swimmer Amy Marren was among those criticising director Robert Zemeckis’ recent adaptation, saying its depiction of the witches’ hands could be harmful to people – especially children – with limb impairments.

Academy Award-winner Hathaway has now joined studio Warner Bros in issuing an apology and said “now that I know better I promise I’ll do better”.

Read more: The Witches skips UK cinemas

She wrote on Instagram: “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.”

She added: “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.”

(Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

Hathaway also shared a video from the Lucky Fin Project, an organisation supporting those with limb differences.

A Warner Bros representative said filmmakers were “deeply saddened” at causing upset.

The Witches also stars Octavia Spencer and Stanley Tucci and is available to watch now on PVOD.

Watch The Witches trailer