HBO Max’s ‘The Witches‘ faces criticism from the disability community; the movie, based on the book of Ronald Dahl, was slammed for lack of sensitivity in portraying a character with limb difference.
The other day, British Para swimmer Amy Marren took to Twitter and called out the producers of the movie by pointing out the negative portrayal of ‘Grand High Witch,’ which is the evil character with missing fingers. Marren, who became the individual medley world champion at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships, posted a statement alongside an image from the book of Dahl and asked Warner Bros. if they have any opinion on how this representation of limb differences would affect the limb difference community. She continued:
“My fear is that children will watch this film, unaware that it massively exaggerates the Roald Dahl original and that limb differences begin to be feared.”
A shortly after her tweet, The official Twitter account for the Paralympic Games shared the same statement and wrote that the limb difference is not scary.
Apart from Marren and the Paralympic Games the other members of the disability community started the #NotAWitch campaign on social media and posted a series of photos of themselves to show their condition as not “weird” as the film depicted. After all these censures, Warner Bros. company and producers released a joint statement intending to apologize to the entire community.
“We the filmmakers and Warner Bros. Pictures are deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in The Witches could upset people with disabilities, and regret any offense caused. 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.”
In the statement also declared that the fantastical characters do not represent real humans; Robert Zemeckis‘ film, with a love-filled theme, all is about the importance of kindness and friendship.
The film, starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, and Chris Rock is now streaming on HBO Max.
See below to view Marren’s tweet.
— Amy Marren (@amy_marren) November 2, 2020