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Lost the magic? Warner Bros struggles with Witches criticism and Depp’s shame

The studio is dealing with censure from disability campaigners in its Anne Hathaway vehicle and must decide whether to recast Johnny Depp’s Fantastic

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The studio is dealing with censure from disability campaigners in its Anne Hathaway vehicle and must decide whether to recast Johnny Depp’s Fantastic Beasts role

There are many elements of Roald Dahl’s bibliography that sit poorly if one views them through a progressive prism: George’s Marvellous Medicine is basically elder abuse repackaged as “hilarious” comedy japes, while the Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were originally described as black pygmies from the “very deepest and darkest part of the African jungle where no white man had been before”. Meanwhile, The Witches bears little love for women who suffer from hair loss, who are depicted as the height of ugliness and monstrosity.

However, it is an entirely different community that has found fault with the latest Hollywood adaptation of the children’s novel, directed this time by Back to the Future’s Robert Zemeckis. Prominent Paralympians and disability campaigners have pointed out that Anne Hathaway’s Grand High Witch and her minions have three-fingered hands that resemble the real-life condition ectrodactyly, otherwise known as “split hand” in the film.

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