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Entertainment Strictly's JJ says portrayal of limb difference in Witches 'careless'

07:40  07 november  2020
07:40  07 november  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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The Robert Zemeckis imagining of Roald Dahl' s The Witches stars Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock and Kristin Chenoweth. The film will debut Oct 22nd 2020.

“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 ,” Anne posted on Instagram . “Let me begin by saying I do my best to be sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others not out of

Anne Hathaway wearing glasses posing for the camera: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Strictly's JJ Chalmers has slammed The Witches remake for its portrayal of limb differences.

The former Royal Marine, 33, has called the portrayal 'careless' and a 'classic example of unconscious biases'.

The Robert Zemeckis-directed Roald Dahl movie adaptation was released last month.

a person standing in front of a stage: 'Careless': Strictly's JJ Chalmers has slammed The Witches remake for its portrayal of limb differences (pictured with dance partner Amy Dowden) © Provided by Daily Mail 'Careless': Strictly's JJ Chalmers has slammed The Witches remake for its portrayal of limb differences (pictured with dance partner Amy Dowden)

It has since been called out by critics and disability advocates for the film's demonising depiction of split hands, or ectrodactyly.

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The film portrays witches as evil, highlighted by their bald heads, lack of toes, and hands with only three fingers. Several people, including Paralympic swimmer Amy Marren and triathlete Claire Cashmore , called out the filmmakers for their lack of consideration when characterising the witches .

Strictly ' s JJ Chalmers says portrayal of limb differences in The Witches remake is ' careless ' and a 'classic example of unconscious biases'.

JJ was caught up in a bomb blast in Helmand, Afghanistan, in 2011 aged 23 where he suffered a broken neck, lost two fingers and other serious injuries.

Taking to Twitter, he said: 'Whilst this depiction was not meant to offend, it is a classic example of the type of unconscious biases and carelessness that occurs in a creative environment that is lacking the insight and benefits of true diversity and representation. #NotAWitch #LimbDifferent #Witches.'

He posted a photo of himself, which featured the hashtag 'NotAWitch' written across his arm, alongside a photo of Anne Hathaway who plays the Grand High Witch in the film.

Hathaway, 37, has offered an apology after significant backlash, including from prominent Paralympic athletes.

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Anne Hathaway has said sorry for "pain caused" by her latest film - The Witches - after a backlash over the movie' s portrayal of limb difference . The 37-year-old actress plays The Grand High Witch in the new version of Roald Dahl' s darkly comic 1983 novel about an orphan who finds himself battling

limb differences , especially children, are in pain because of the portrayal of the Grand High Witch in The Witches ," she started her post after thanking the Lucky Fin Project, a nonprofit organization that exists to raise awareness and celebrate children, individuals, and families affected by limb differences .

Anne Hathaway standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: 'Careless': The former Royal Marine, 33, has called the portrayal 'careless' and a 'classic example of unconscious biases' (Anne Hathaway pictured in film still) © Provided by Daily Mail 'Careless': The former Royal Marine, 33, has called the portrayal 'careless' and a 'classic example of unconscious biases' (Anne Hathaway pictured in film still) graphical user interface, text, application, email: Unconscious biases: JJ was caught up in a bomb blast in Helmand, Afghanistan, in 2011 aged 23 where he suffered a broken neck, lost two fingers and other serious injuries, took to Twitter to call out the film © Provided by Daily Mail Unconscious biases: JJ was caught up in a bomb blast in Helmand, Afghanistan, in 2011 aged 23 where he suffered a broken neck, lost two fingers and other serious injuries, took to Twitter to call out the film

She used her Instagram platform to address the issue, explaining how sorry she was for 'pain caused' by the film while sharing a video from Lucky Fin Project, a non-profit that exists to raise awareness and celebrate children, individuals, and families affected by limb differences.

'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,' the actress said of her character.

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Strictly ' s JJ Chalmers says portrayal of limb differences in The Witches remake is ' careless ' and a 'classic example of unconscious biases'.

Strictly ' s JJ Chalmers says portrayal of limb differences in The Witches remake is ' careless ' and a 'classic example of unconscious biases'.

'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 continued.

a man wearing glasses: #NotAWitch: He posted a photo of himself, which featured the hashtag 'NotAWitch' written across his arm, alongside a photo of Anne Hathaway who plays the Grand High Witch in the film © Provided by Daily Mail #NotAWitch: He posted a photo of himself, which featured the hashtag 'NotAWitch' written across his arm, alongside a photo of Anne Hathaway who plays the Grand High Witch in the film

'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 [Grand High Witch] when the look of the character was brought to me; if I had, I assure you this never would have happened.'


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She continued: '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.'

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After the film's release, The Witches received large amounts of criticism from the community of disabled people.

Critics point out that neither the 1983 book, nor the 1990 film starring Angelica Huston, featured split hands.

In fact, Dahl describes the physical appearance of the witches in detail, and refers to them having claws rather than fingernails, but makes no mention of missing fingers or split hands.

text, letter: Apologising: Anne offered an apology on Instagram following criticism of the film © Provided by Daily Mail Apologising: Anne offered an apology on Instagram following criticism of the film

Amy Marren, a swimmer who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games, was one of the first to criticise the film and ask on Twitter if there was 'much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would effect the limb difference community.'

The Lucky Fin Project, a nonprofit to raise support and awareness for limb differences, also took to Twitter to criticise the movie and start a petition to boycott its viewing.

British TV actress Melissa Johns, who was born without a right forearm and hand, also criticised 'The Witches' for being irresponsible.

The International Paralympic Committee also called out the movie, using '#NotAWitch' on social media to generate more reactions from the disability community.

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Warner Bros. released a statement to Deadline, saying they are 'deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of the fictional characters in 'The Witches' could upset people with disabilities' and that they 'regretted any offence caused.'

They added, '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.'

According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, ectrodactyly presents at birth and its severity can range for those who have it. The condition appears in 1 in every 90,000-100,000 births worldwide.

The Lucky Fin Project raises support and awareness for those who have limb differences © Provided by Daily Mail The Lucky Fin Project raises support and awareness for those who have limb differences text: Actor Melissa Johns, who was born with limb differences, also called out The Witches © Provided by Daily Mail Actor Melissa Johns, who was born with limb differences, also called out The Witches Read more

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