The new adaptation of Roald Dahl's 'The Witches', starring Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer, has been slammed by the disability community weeks after its release.

The depiction of the witches' three fingered hands are at the root of the backlash.

According to Deadline, they bear likeness to the limb abnormality ectrodactyly, also known as “split hand”, which is distinguished by the absence of one or more central digits on the hand or foot.

Campaigners of the disability community as well as Paralympians have criticised the movie and noted that Dahl's original book did not portray the witches in this way.

British Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren tweeted: "Warner Bros, was there much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would effect the limb difference community?"


Disability advocate Shannon Crossland has also spoken out.

She said the new movie is in "no way a reflection of the original novel written by Roald Dahl."

Crossland added: "Is this the kind of message we want the next generation to receive? That having three fingers is a witch’s attribute? It is an extremely damaging portrayal. Disability should not be associated with evil, abnormality, disgust, fear, or monsters."

Advocate for disability on screens/stage and former 'Corrie' actress Melissa John tweeted: "Why missing fingers?? Here we go again... Using disability as a costume and to highlight a character as a “baddie”.

"Children with limb differences rarely get to see themselves represented truthfully. But instead get shown as scary monsters?"


The official Paralympic Games also shared their objection to the film on Twitter, as did The Lucky Fin Project, a non profit that aims to raise awareness and support those born with symbrachydactyly or limb difference.


Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, has issued a statement reading: "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.

"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.

"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."

'The Witches' is available to rent now from Amazon, iTunes and other streaming platforms.