British Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren was one of the first to call the studio for the pictures.
– Amy Marren (@amy_marren) November 2, 2020
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Disability advocate Shannon Crossland said on Instagram that the footage from the film was “in no way a reflection of the original novel written by Roald Dahl.”
“Is this the kind of message we want the next generation to receive? That having three fingers is the attribute of a witch? It is an extremely damaging portrait. Disability should NOT be associated with evil, anomaly, disgust, fear or monsters, ”she added.
In response to these and many other posts from members of the disability community, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. said Deadline he had been “deeply saddened to learn that our portrayal of the fictional characters in The witches could upset people with disabilities ”and that he“ regretted any crime caused ”.
“By adapting the original story, we worked with designers and artists to come up with a new take on the cat’s claws that are described in the book,” they added. “Viewers never intended to think that fantastic, non-human creatures were meant to represent them. ”
In Dahl’s 1983 novel, witches are said to have “square feet without toes” and “claws instead of fingernails”, although in the cover illustration of the first edition they are shown that ‘they have five fingers on their hands.
The official Paralympic Games Twitter account took to Twitter today.
The difference in limbs is not frightening. Differences must be celebrated and disability must be normalized. #NotAWitch create ‘#The witches‘film for the representation of disability 👉 https://t.co/aSY1U6TymE pic.twitter.com/UCU87bUeV8
– Paralympic Games (@Paralympics) November 3, 2020
Former Coronation Street Disability advocate actress Melissa Johns also tweeted.
Why miss fingers?
Here we go again…
Use handicap as a costume and showcase a character as a “bad guy”.
Children with different limbs rarely have the opportunity to be portrayed honestly. But instead, be shown as scary monsters?
– Melissa Johns (@Melissa_Clare_J) November 2, 2020
Directed by Robert Zemeckis and co-written by Guillermo del Toro, The witches released on HBO Max on October 22. This is the second adaptation of Dahl’s book after the film of the same name by Nicolas Roeg in 1990.