When you think of a witch, what do you think of? Someone wearing a pointy black hat? Evil magic spells? Flying away on a broom? A creepy, cackly old lady with three fingers, perhaps?

Okay, maybe you don’t necessarily think of the last one, but that’s just how witches were portrayed in Anne Hathaway’s latest release “The Witches.” But in real life, a split hand like this sis called “ectrodactylyin,” and it’s a real thing for many people—many people who are not witches, we might add.

Since the movie was released, many notable Paralympians and advocates spoke out regarding limb differences, popularizing the hashtag #NotAWitch.

One of the first people to speak out was Amy Marren, a Paralympic swimming medalist, who posted a photo of herself on Instagram with #NotAWitch written on her skin. “Please educate yourself on #LimbDifferences and the support the idea that you are #NotAWitch because you look different!” she said.

In a separate post she noted that she was disappointed in how limb differences were portrayed in the film and that “it’s not unusual for surgeons to try and build hands like this for children/adults with certain limb differences.” She added that “It’s upsetting to something that makes a person different being represented as something scary.”

After more and more people began to express similar concerns, Anne Hathaway issued an apology.

“I have recently learned that many people with limb differences, especially children, are in pain because of the portrayal of the Grand High Witch in The Witches,” Hathaway wrote in an Instagram post, explaining that she never made the connection to the two when she was filming.

“Let me begin by saying I do my best to be sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others not out of some scrambling PC fear, but because not hurting others seems like a basic level of decency we should all be striving for,” she explained. “As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty, I owe you all an apology for the pain caused. I am sorry. I did not connect limb difference with the GHW when the look of the character was brought to me; if I had, I assure you this never would have happened.”

The post included a video by the Lucky Fin Project, a nonprofit organization that exists to raise awareness and celebrate children, individuals, and families affected by limb differences.

To see the post and video, check out the video below. And don’t forget to check out the hashtag #NotAWitch for more awareness, too.

 

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I have recently learned that many people with limb differences, especially children, are in pain because of the portrayal of the Grand High Witch in The Witches. Let me begin by saying I do my best to be sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others not out of some scrambling PC fear, but because not hurting others seems like a basic level of decency we should all be striving for. As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty, I owe you all an apology for the pain caused. I am sorry. I did not connect limb difference with the GHW when the look of the character was brought to me; if I had, I assure you this never would have happened. I particularly want to say I’m sorry to kids with limb differences: now that I know better I promise I’ll do better. And I owe a special apology to everyone who loves you as fiercely as I love my own kids: I’m sorry I let your family down. If you aren’t already familiar, please check out the @Lucky_Fin_Project (video above) and the #NotAWitch hashtag to get a more inclusive and necessary perspective on limb difference.

A post shared by Anne Hathaway (@annehathaway) on

Do you know anyone with limb differences? How can we help spread more awareness?