The Witches Image Credit: HBO Max

Dubai: Para-triathlon world champion Claire Cashmore is leading a global criticism following the release of the film ‘The Witches’, earlier this month.

Cashmore has started a campaign highlighting, what she claims is a negative portrayal of disability in the Warner Bros movie starring actresses Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer where the movie has been accused of using limb deficiencies as a negative trait.

Cashmore has jumped onto the campaign floated by para-athletes such as Great Britain’s swimming star Amy Marren, who used the hashtag #NotAWitch in response to the traits of the witches in the remake of the 1990 classic.

Both films are based on the 1983 children’s novel of the same name, written by Roald Dahl. The story has previously been criticised for its portrayal of women.

Trailers for the 2020 version included a tutorial on “how to Identify witches”, which highlighted claws and a lack of toes as characteristics.

Marren was among the first to cause a stir on social media, stating her concerns over how disabled people could be viewed for having limb deficiencies.

“@WarnerBrosUK was there much thought given as to how this representation of limb differences would effect the limb difference community,” Marren tweeted earlier this month. “My fear is that children will watch this film, unaware that it massively exaggerates the Roald Dahl original and that limbs differences begin to be feared,” Marren added.

Para-triathlon world champion Cashmore insisted that promotional images for the film recalled hurtful comments made to her as a child about her arm being “scary”.

“Seeing this picture from the ‘The Witches’ film made me very confused/upset,” Cashmore said on her Instagram.

“We want disabilities to to be normalised and be represented in a positive light rather than being associated with being a scary, evil, witch.

“I really don’t believe that @warnerbrosuk would have wanted to upset or cause offence but I think maybe a few more discussions should have been had,” she added.

Comedian and television presenter Alex Brooker, who also has limb impairments, retweeted a post that expressed disappointment at the descriptions used in the film, with the original book showing the witches having claws rather than fingernails.

Alice Gair, a member of the Allied Health Professional (AHP) team and a parent tweeted: “As a mother to a young child with a hand difference, I am deeply saddened by the depiction and subsequent stigma of upper limb difference that will be reinforced by @wbpictures new release #TheWitches. This was not how #roalddahl defined it,” she tweeted.