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Thread: Warner Bros. Issues Apology After 'The Witches' Faces Backlash Frm Disability Commnty

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    Default Warner Bros. Issues Apology After 'The Witches' Faces Backlash Frm Disability Commnty

    Warner Bros. Issues Apology After 'The Witches' Faces Backlash From Disability Community

    10:13 AM PST 11/4/2020 by Mia Galuppo

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    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. /HBO Max
    Anne Hathaway and cast in 'The Witches'


    "[Warner Bros.] was there much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would effect the limb difference community?!" wrote Paralympian Amy Marren on Twitter.

    Warner Bros. has issued a statement saying the studios regrets "any offense caused" by a character design seen in recent release The Witches after online backlash from the disability community.
    In the Robert Zemeckis-directed adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl children's book, the villainous witches, including the coven leader played by Anne Hathaway, are seen as having only three fingers. The design looks similar to ectrodactyly, also known as split or cleft hand, which is a limb disability that is the absence of one or more digits from the hand.
    Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren called out the design on Twitter, writing, "[Warner Bros.] was there much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would effect the limb difference community?!"
    In a lengthier post on Instagram, she offered: ďItís not unusual for surgeons to try and build hands like this for children/adults with certain limb differences, and itís upsetting to something that makes a person different being represented as something scary."

    "Yes, I am fully aware that this a film and these are witches," added the English swimmer. "My fear is that children will watch this film, unaware that it massively exaggerates the Roald Dahl original and that limb difference begin to be feared."

    The titular witches in Dahl's book are described as "claws hidden by gloves" and are depicted in the cover art as having five fingers. In the 1990 film that was led by Anjelica Huston, the witches are also shown as having five fingers.

    The Paralympic Games echoed Marren's sentiments on its official Twitter account, writing, "Limb difference is not scary. Differences should be celebrated and disability has to be normalised."

    In a statement in response to the backlash, a studio spokesperson says, "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 Witches, which was set for a theatrical release prior to the pandemic theatrical shutdown, debuted on Warner Bros.' sister streaming service HBO Max on Oct. 22.
    "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," the statement continued. "It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them. 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."
    Americans with physical or mental disabilities include one-quarter of the population, a 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found, and represent a $1 billion market segment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But USC's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that only 1.6 percent of all speaking characters in the top 100 grossing films of 2018 had a disability.
    As the entertainment industry continues to reckon with its diversity representation, both on- and offscreen, a light has been shone on how disability is portrayed in Hollywood projects. Last month, the Ford and Andrew W. Mellon foundations announced Disability Futures Fellows, which awards $50,000 grant to disabled creatives in the hopes of addressing the financial and professional challenges often confronted by disabled creatives.
    ďThe decision to make this witch look scarier by having a limb difference Ė which was not an original part of the plot Ė has real life consequences,Ē said Lauren Appelbaum of RespectAbility, a nonprofit that seeks to combat stigmas for people with disabilities and often works with Hollywood companies, in a statement. ďUnfortunately, this representation in The Witches teaches kids that limb differences are hideous or something to be afraid of. What type of message does this send to children with limb differences?Ē

    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/ne...lity-community

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    Elite Member lindsaywhit's Avatar
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    Must admit, my wearied and election traumatized brain read this and inwardly groaned, "Oh, gawd, something else we have to worry about."

    Then I thought of the children who saw this film and became more aware, and possibly more ashamed, of their limb difference. I also thought of all the children without a limb difference who would take their cue, consciously or not, from a movie that creates legitimacy for fear and anger directed at limb difference, and by extension, any difference. It may have, I'm ashamed to say, made my eyes roll at first glance... I can guarantee you it did not have the same effect on the parents of children with this or any other physical difference.
    Last edited by lindsaywhit; November 5th, 2020 at 07:57 AM.
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i'll admit i rolled my eyes.
    it's in the book so if you're going to make a movie about the book, then yeah they have to follow the story. and if a kid watches this movie and forms an opinion about people with a disability, that's not on the movie, it's on the kid's parents for not explaining the context and the story.
    people have also complained about roald dahl's treatment of fat people in charlie and the chocolate factory, accused him of racism because of the oompa-loompas, etc... i think it's too bad because he was probably my favourite author as a kid and i loved the dark humour and, yes, his mean streak. and i fucking hated all the dumb 'nice' books that assumed children were idiots incapable of understanding the world around them.
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    Elite Member crayzeehappee's Avatar
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    I get that they shouldn't act like having a limb difference is scary or weird, but I think it'd take far more than a fantasy movie for a kid to form that opinion. Also, the witches are not human, they're creatures. I loved the Angelica Huston movie when I was a kid. Watched it so many times.
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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    And, if you have an issue with the movie, you can make the choice to not watch it with your kids.
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    Elite Member o0Amber0o's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    i'll admit i rolled my eyes.
    it's in the book so if you're going to make a movie about the book, then yeah they have to follow the story. and if a kid watches this movie and forms an opinion about people with a disability, that's not on the movie, it's on the kid's parents for not explaining the context and the story.
    people have also complained about roald dahl's treatment of fat people in charlie and the chocolate factory, accused him of racism because of the oompa-loompas, etc... i think it's too bad because he was probably my favourite author as a kid and i loved the dark humour and, yes, his mean streak. and i fucking hated all the dumb 'nice' books that assumed children were idiots incapable of understanding the world around them.
    I'm with you, I loved his books growing up, The Witches being one of my favorites (and The Twits!!!) it's disappointing that they're being tore apart now.

    Let's face it, there's a lot of disabilities that could initially be scary to children when they first see them and like you said, it's on the parents to teach and guide them through that be it in a story or something they saw at the grocery store.

    Idk, I don't even feel like I can be upset about this stuff without being labeled something hateful. It's a childrens book/movie, why does it have to be any more than that.
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    Gold Member lucianodel's Avatar
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    That's ridiculous.
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    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    I could be offended by stuff as well if I tried hard enough.
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    Elite Member NickiDrea's Avatar
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    I wanted to add to this thread because I read today that a child in my kidsí school district is appearing on the news to talk about this movie. She was born with no fingers on one of her hands and she is going to be talking about how other kids already fear her condition and why she doesnít think that a disability that she was born with (missing/disfigured hands) should be used in a movie this way. This IS something that impacts people with disabilities and I think itís extremely important to listen to what they are saying. Sometimes things arenít intended to be offensive but they are, and if a group of people feel harmed by it, we should take it seriously. I donít think itís for people who donít have disabilities to dictate what should or shouldnít offend those who do have disabilities.
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    Elite Member InigoMontoya's Avatar
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    I am unsure about the controversy. Just watching the movie now, and the overarching message is “be who you are and do what you do.” The book and movie are fiction and we (I am 53 and have read and seen much more horrible instances of disenfranchisement than this)? We?

    Are we now relegated to the “cancel culture” of books written decades ago? That would be a “a big, Texas sized ‘Hard No’ as the folks on “Letterkenny” say.

    this movie has just as much to teach a person about ableism and discrimination and does so in an inspiring way. JMHO and YMMV.

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    Elite Member levitt's Avatar
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    I think the most offensive thing here is people feel the need to remake The Witches
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickiDrea View Post
    I wanted to add to this thread because I read today that a child in my kids’ school district is appearing on the news to talk about this movie. She was born with no fingers on one of her hands and she is going to be talking about how other kids already fear her condition and why she doesn’t think that a disability that she was born with (missing/disfigured hands) should be used in a movie this way. This IS something that impacts people with disabilities and I think it’s extremely important to listen to what they are saying. Sometimes things aren’t intended to be offensive but they are, and if a group of people feel harmed by it, we should take it seriously. I don’t think it’s for people who don’t have disabilities to dictate what should or shouldn’t offend those who do have disabilities.
    but everything is offensive to someone, even unintentionally. What then? Do those who are offended get to dictate what stories/art/movies are acceptable?
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    Elite Member NickiDrea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    but everything is offensive to someone, even unintentionally. What then? Do those who are offended get to dictate what stories/art/movies are acceptable?
    I think what is right is to be open to having the conversation, not to write people off as whiny because they are affected or offended by an issue that may not necessarily impact the majority. If a little kid is saying ďplease listen to me, this is an issue that negatively affects me,Ē Iím not going to just call them annoying and want them to shut up, I am at least going to listen. Doesnít mean I have to agree with them in the end, but personally I think society would be a lot nicer if we just listened to each otherís perspectives every once in a while. Having diversity in thoughts, experiences, and opinions is important. I, personally, appreciate the dialogue.

    And frankly, as tired as I am of people who unnecessarily act like victims all the time (because they are definitely out there), Iím also tired of being bashed over the head with what is acceptable to the majority, which in the US often comes from someone who has no idea what itís like to be a member of a minority of any type. Thatís why we see racial and religious minorities, LGBT people, and people with disabilities either non-existent or stereotyped in our media all the time. Iím over it tbh.
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    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    I wanted to.see a photograph and during my search I saw this article.



    ‘#NotAWitch’: People With Limb Differences Call Out ‘The Witches’ Movie for Its Portrayal of Disabilities

    "When I look at the pictures of [Anne Hathaway] with her witch hands, it brings tears to my eyes because I see MY hand in the photos."
    By Claire Gillespie
    November 06, 2020


    Fans of Roald Dahl have been looking forward to the movie adaptation of his 1983 children's fantasy novel The Witches. But since it was released last month—via on-demand services due to the COVID-19-enforced closure of movie theaters—not all feedback has been positive.

    The movie stars Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch, and she's depicted with just claw-like hands with three fingers on each. This has led to backlash from campaigners and people with limb differences, who have accused the movie of portraying disabilities as "something to be scared of" and labeling the depiction as "shockingly out of touch." (Notably, Dahl's novel didn't refer to the character as having missing fingers—the witches had claws instead of nails, which they used gloves to cover.)




    Rhiannon James, who was excited to see the movie, said she was "horrified" when she saw that the movie portrayed limb differences in such a hurtful light. "I’m angry that they are showing someone with a limb difference as something that should be feared and covered up," she recently told NBC's Today.

    Other people took to social media with the hashtag #NotAWitch, such as British paralympic medalist Amy Marren, who wrote on Twitter: "Please educate yourself on #LimbDifferences and the support the idea that you are #NotAWitch because you look different! You can also actively support the limb difference community by using words that describe us as PEOPLE, as it's not the difference that defines us." The Paralympic Games tweeted that "differences should be celebrated and disability has to be normalized."


    British TV presenter Briony May Williams, who was a semifinalist in the 2018 season of The Great British Baking Show, joined the conversation on social media, writing a long, emotional post on Instagram from the perspective of someone who has no fingers on one of her hands.


    "When I look at the pictures of @annehathaway with her witch hands, it brings tears to my eyes because I see MY hand in the photos," Williams wrote. "I see my genetic disorder that caused me to be born without any fingers on my left hand. I see something to be afraid of, something meant to make you feel sick and revolted." She went on to explain her position, explaining that it "isn't about being overly sensitive, a 'snowflake' or being too politically correct. This is about showcasing limb difference as ugly, scary, gross and evil."

    Williams revealed that it's taken her "decades" to reach the point where she's proud of her hand, despite the abuse she's faced. When she was on Baking Show, people tweeted her saying she looked like "the guy on Freddy Got Fingered." "I feel desperately sad for those people out there, especially children, with a limb difference who are ashamed of it or embarrassed because this will knock them harder than you know," she continued. "I'm so pleased that people and charities are speaking up because it's not ok."



    https://www.health.com/mind-body/the...nces-notawitch
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^
    those look like bird talons. all the fingers are the same length and don't even look fully human.


    Quote Originally Posted by NickiDrea View Post
    I think what is right is to be open to having the conversation, not to write people off as whiny because they are affected or offended by an issue that may not necessarily impact the majority. If a little kid is saying ďplease listen to me, this is an issue that negatively affects me,Ē Iím not going to just call them annoying and want them to shut up, I am at least going to listen. Doesnít mean I have to agree with them in the end, but personally I think society would be a lot nicer if we just listened to each otherís perspectives every once in a while. Having diversity in thoughts, experiences, and opinions is important. I, personally, appreciate the dialogue.

    And frankly, as tired as I am of people who unnecessarily act like victims all the time (because they are definitely out there), Iím also tired of being bashed over the head with what is acceptable to the majority, which in the US often comes from someone who has no idea what itís like to be a member of a minority of any type. Thatís why we see racial and religious minorities, LGBT people, and people with disabilities either non-existent or stereotyped in our media all the time. Iím over it tbh.
    I tend to agree with you, the issue is that when people call out things they find offensive, they don't really do it in a constructive way, most of the time they're calling for things to get canceled or not made at all. They are not trying to have a conversation they are trying to control what gets made, published or given a platform.
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