The Witches: Disability community slams Roald Dahl HBO Max remake


Backlash against The Witches: Disabled people including Paralympians criticize remake of Roald Dahl classic over its use of split hands

  • On October 22, HBO Max released The Witches – the second adaptation of Dahl’s famous novel after the hit 1990 film
  • Stars Anne Hathaway as the evil Grand High Witch who is revealed to have ‘split’ hands with just three fingers
  • Disabled people have hit out at the movie for demonizing split hands, known as an ectrodactyly
  •  Amy Marren, a swimmer who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games, was one of the first to criticize the film

A new Roald Dahl movie remake is receiving significant backlash from the disabled community, including prominent Paralympic athletes.

On October 22, HBO Max released The Witches – the second adaptation of Dahl’s famous novel after the hit 1990 film.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it stars Anne Hathaway as the evil Grand High Witch who is revealed to have ‘split’ hands with just three fingers. 

Disabled people have hit out at the movie for demonizing split hands, known as an ectrodactyly.

Anne Hathaway portrays the Grand High Witch in the new adaptation of ‘The Witches’

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it stars Anne Hathaway as the evil Grand High Witch who is revealed to have 'split' hands with just three fingers

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it stars Anne Hathaway as the evil Grand High Witch who is revealed to have ‘split’ hands with just three fingers

Amy Marren, a swimmer who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games, was one of the first to criticize the film and ask on Twitter if there was ‘much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would effect the limb difference community.’

The Lucky Fin Project, a nonprofit to raise support and awareness for limb differences, also took to Twitter to criticize the movie and start a petition to boycott its viewing.

British TV actress Melissa Johns, who was born without a right forearm and hand, also criticized ‘The Witches’ for being irresponsible.

Star Paralympic athlete Amy Marren of Great Britain is leading a charge against 'The Witches'

Star Paralympic athlete Amy Marren of Great Britain is leading a charge against ‘The Witches’

Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren was one of the first prominent people to criticize the film

Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren was one of the first prominent people to criticize the film

The British Paralympic swimmer earned a bronze medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games

The British Paralympic swimmer earned a bronze medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games

The Lucky Fin Project also took to social media to criticize 'The Witches' and start a boycott

The Lucky Fin Project also took to social media to criticize ‘The Witches’ and start a boycott 

The International Paralympic Committee also called out the movie, using ‘#NotAWitch’ on social media to generate more reactions from the disability community. 

Critics point out that neither the 1983 book, nor the 1990 film starring Angelica Huston, featured split hands. 

In fact, Dalh describes the physical appearance of the witches in detail, and refers to them having claws rather than fingernails, but makes no mention of missing fingers or split hands.

Warner Bros. released a statement to Deadline, saying they are ‘deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in ‘The Witches’ could upset people with disabilities’ and that they ‘regretted any offense caused.’

They added, ‘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.’

According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, ectrodactyly presents at birth and its severity can range for those who have it. The condition appears in 1 in every 90,000-100,000 births worldwide. 

The Lucky Fin Project raises support and awareness for those who have limb differences

The Lucky Fin Project raises support and awareness for those who have limb differences

Actor Melissa Johns, who was born with limb differences, also called out The Witches

Actor Melissa Johns, who was born with limb differences, also called out The Witches

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk