We are Nicole Kelly and Sarah Tuberty of Disarming Disability podcast.
We are collecting responses from all members of the disability community regarding their concerns on the recently released movie, The Witches, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Released on October 22nd, 2020 on HBOMax, The Witches was produced by Warner Bros Pictures, ImageMovers, Necropia Entertainment, Esperanto Filmoj, and Double Dare You Productions, and Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Based off the 1983 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, this movie was written by Robert Zemeckis, Kenya Barris, and Guillermo del Toro, produced by Zemeckis, Toro, Jack Rapke, Alfonso Cuaron, and Luke Kelly, and ultimately directed by Robert Zemeckis. In a deviation from the original children’s novel, the characters in this film have been depicted with various disabilities, including the limb difference known as ectrodactyly.
Unfortunately, this hand difference was chosen not in a good faith representation, but to instill a grotesque element to the villainous characters, who float in between a human and non-human space. By giving the main villain, played by Anne Hathaway, a limb difference that closely resembles ectrodactyly the film reinforces the harmful stereotype of limb differences being evil and bad, and something to be harmed or defeated. This is capitalized on through the framing of the film which continually highlights the limb difference as something that is scary and grotesque.
To most of the 74.1 million children and youth living in the United States today, this movie will be their first introduction to people with this type of disability.
We will not continue to allow the images of our bodies to be used in this harmful way. Our bodies are not evil, and we reject teaching this lesson to the youth this film is intended for. Therefore we are taking actions to ensure this will never happen again. We cannot do this without you.
For these reasons we created 3 actionable items for you: