Anne Hathaway is making a heartfelt apology to kids and adults with limb differences who were hurt by her portrayal of the Grand High Witch in The Witches.
In director Robert Zemeckis' HBO Max reimagining of the Roald Dahl book, Hathaway, 37, and her coven of witches are portrayed as having three long fingers that they hide under gloves. The book and the 1990 original film, starring Anjelica Huston, featured the villains as having five fingers and long claws.
After the movie premiered, activists in the limb difference community pushed back on the portrayal, explaining how it's harmful to those with a similar-looking disability.
In an Instagram post on Thursday, the day after Warner Bros. issued a statement apologizing for the offense, Hathaway made her own apology alongside a video of kids and adults with limb differences giving powerful statements about their disability.
"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," she started her post after thanking the Lucky Fin Project, a nonprofit organization that exists to raise awareness and celebrate children, individuals, and families affected by limb differences.
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"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," Hathaway 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 added.
Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Hathaway also urged her followers to learn more about the Lucky Fin Project and search the hashtag #NotAWitch, where dozens of people are uploading pictures of their limb difference.
In a note on Twitter, British Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren explained why the portrayal could be harmful.
"It’s not unusual for surgeons to try and build hands like this for children/adults with certain limb differences and it’s upsetting to [see] something that makes. Person different being represented as something scary," she wrote. "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."
"This opens up all new difficult conversations for those with limb differences and sets back what we are truing to achieve which is to celebrate who you are!" Marren concluded.
The official Twitter account for the Paralympic Games also tweeted that "limb difference is not scary."
The Witches is now playing on HBO Max.