Robert Zemeckis' remake of 1990's The Witches hit HBO Max recently and has received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. Currently, the Anne Hathaway-led feature has a 51% critics score and 38% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. It turns out, the criticisms of the movie extend past the filmmaking. According to Deadline, the movie has been seen as offensive to many within the disabled community. The Paralympic Games organization and more have spoken out to say that Hathaway’s character has hands in the film that resemble the “limb abnormality” ectrodactyly, which is also known as “slit hand,” which occurs when someone is missing one or more central fingers or toes. Since the backlash, Warner Bros. has issued a statement, which you can read below:
A spokesperson told Deadline they were "deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in The Witches could upset people with disabilities" and that they "regretted any offense caused." They added, "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."
You can read some of the upset tweets from prominent members of the disability community below:
Limb difference is not scary. Differences should be celebrated and disability has to be normalised. #NotAWitch calls out ‘#TheWitches’ movie for portrayal of disability 👉 https://t.co/aSY1U6TymE pic.twitter.com/UCU87bUeV8— Paralympic Games (@Paralympics) November 3, 2020
You can check out the official synopsis for The Witches here: "The Witches tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy (Jahzir Kadeem Bruno) who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma (Octavia Spencer) in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. The boy and his grandmother come across some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, so Grandma wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world's Grand High Witch (Hathaway) has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe -- undercover -- to carry out her nefarious plans."
How do you feel about Warner Bros.' statement? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
The new version of The Witches is now streaming on HBO Max, and the original is available to watch on Netflix.