Movie Facing Backlash From Community Saying Anne Hathaway's Character Demonizes Disability

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Actress Anne Hathaway is apologizing for backlash over her character in the new HBO movie “The Witches.”

She portrays someone with missing limbs, and now it’s opening up a conversation about people with disabilities and those affected.

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Blake Norris is a beautiful, brave, happy toddler about to have her third surgery to help with the limb difference she was born with known as radial club hand.

Nineteen-month-old Blake Norris was born with a limb difference known as radial club hand. (Credit: Norris family)

“I’m just so proud of her and love her so much,” mom Melissa Norris said.

“How’s she doing?” CBS2’s Jessica Layton asked.

“Wonderful … She doesn’t know that she has a limb difference,” Norris said.

Norris has spent every day of Blake’s 19 months teaching her daughter she can do anything while also advocating for awareness and compassion.

So when the remake of movie “The Witches” was released, portraying the main character who is missing fingers as evil and scary, it was a punch to the gut.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Norris said. “There’s people in the movie that, when they see the hands with three fingers, or even the feet with no toes, the other characters in the movie say ‘ew.’ … That’s what we’re, every day, trying to undo.”

Norris is just one voice in the chorus of backlash by a community that says Anne Hathaway‘s character demonizes a disability.

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The Lucky Fin Project, which supports people of all ages with limb differences, responded, saying, “No witches here.”

Hathaway, who is from New Jersey, posted the group’s powerful video to her own Instagram page with a note saying in part, “I owe you all an apology for the pain caused. I am sorry … I particularly want to say I’m sorry to kids with limb differences: now that I know better I promise I’ll do better.”

Moms like Norris say as painful as this has been, maybe the silver lining is that it has opened up a conversation about limb differences and the kids and adults who are affected.

“And also just have people respect them for who they are,” she said. “Let’s work now to be more inclusive.”

So babies like Blake can conquer any challenge while growing up in a better, kinder world.

Warner Bros. Pictures said in a statement, “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.”


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