Anne Hathaway stars in the new Warner Bros. movie, The Witches (2020), based on the 1983 book by Roald Dahl. She portrays the character of the Grand High Witch responsible for turning children into mice. The movie, much like the book, was meant to be fun and innocent for viewers. However, the film struck a nerve and received backlash from the disabled community. When the witches rid of their human disguises and reveal their forms, they have severe limb differences and missing fingers and toes. The disabled community felt as this movie adds to the negative stigma surrounding physical disabilities.
Warner Bros. has issued an apology: “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.” The studio continues to say, “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.”
Hathaway came out with an apology of her own on Instagram for followers. She wrote, “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… I particularly want to say I’m sorry to kids with limb differences: now that I know better I promise I’ll do better.” The actress does not have a history of being problematic or taking problematic roles. Many people offended thanked Anne for having the decency to be self-aware and apologetic.
Political correctness (PC) has become a focal talking point in the past few years. Some people believe it’s basic decency to refer and represent communities how they wish to be; we should do everything in our power to ensure we are not offending anyone. Others take the stance that PC is for people with “soft skin” who are too sensitive. Hathaway seems to have sided with the first group. She has always stood up and tried to do her part for marginalized communities in the United States. While people are deeply upset with her, they take her apology and promise to do better as genuine. However, that does not mean forgiveness will come right away.