Warner Bros has issued an apology after many disabled people took issue with the way limb difference was depicted in their new film version of The Witches.
The film adds a new detail not seen in the original book – or the first adaptation starring Anjelica Huston – in which her character has only three fingers on each hand.
Following the film’s debut, many disabled public figures voiced their disapproval of this detail, suggesting it perpetuates stigma around disability.
“Was there much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would effect the limb difference community?!” questioned Paralympian Amy Marren, who said: “It’s upsetting to [see] something that makes a person different being represented as something scary.
“This opens up all new difficult conversations for those with limb differences and sets back what we are trying to achieve which is to celebrate who you are.”
Since then, many people with disabilities have been posting photos of themselves on social media, using the hashtag #NotAWitch.
Apologising in a statement issued to Deadline, a spokesperson for Warner Bros said: “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 offence 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. It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them.”
They added: “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.”
Warner Bros’ new version of The Witches also stars Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and voice acting from Chris Rock.
It was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who previously helmed all three Back To The Future films, Death Becomes Her and Forrest Gump.