The remake of The Witches was released recently, and it’s proven to be horrifying for all of the wrong reasons for some.
Anne Hathaway starred as the Grand High Witch in this latest film, based on the famed Roald Dahl book.
In the new version, her character appears to have ectrodactyly, which is sometimes referred to as a “split hand” or “cleft hand”. Her character is displayed as having two fingers and a thumb on each hand.
Ectrodactyly results in the absence of one or more central digits on the hand or foot.
The film caused uproar amongst prominent campaigners for the community, as well as the Paralympic Games organisation.
In the original story the Witches have square toes, but there is no mention of their hands in this way, only mentioned as “cat-like claws”, nor were they featured in the 1990 film starring Anjelica Huston.
The decision to portray the hands in such a way was added by filmmakers who “worked with designers and artists to come up with a new interpretation of the cat-like claws”
British Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren posted on her Twitter feed, she said she was “disappointed” in the film.
“I myself am a huge advocate of celebrating differences and especially limb differences” she wrote. “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 this it massively exaggerates the Roald Dahl original and that limbs differences begin to be feared.”
Deadline reports that a spokesperson for Warner Bros. says the film studio was “deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in The Witches could upset people with disabilities,” and that it “regretted any offence caused”
They also said that Dahl’s book describes the witches has having claws instead of fingernails, but campaigners pointed out that Quentin Blake’s illustrations on the cover show them with human hands, with four fingers and a thumb.
Is their apology enough?
Images via Alamy