Anne Hathaway has a message for her fans.
One trait in particular — hands resembling bird feet and featuring only three fingers on each hand — left many irked.
The limb difference community spoke out, saying that using such a trait to make Hathaway’s character look non-human was problematic.
Now, the actress has spoken out, sharing a video produced by Lucky Fin Project on Instagram, which featured people with limb differences stating that they “will not be pitied.”
“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,” Hathaway wrote in the caption. “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.”
The star said that she “believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty,” and offered up an apology “for the pain caused” by the way the character was portrayed.
“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,” said the actress. “I particularly want to say I’m sorry to kids with limb differences: now that I know better I promise I’ll do better.”
Next came a “special apology” to the families of people with limb differences.
“I’m sorry I let your family down,” she said.
Warner Bros., which owns HBO Max, expressed similar sentiments in a statement obtained by Variety, in which the studio said they were “deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in ‘The Witches’ could upset people with disabilities.”
The statement continued: “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,” the statement reads. “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.”
“The Witches” is based on Roald Dahl‘s 1983 novel of the same name. A 1990 film adaptation of the book saw Anjelica Huston play the same role, but with all of her fingers.
Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock also appear in the 2020 film.