Rosie Jon: Open Letter To Anne Hathaway

Rosie Jon is a Westport mother of 3. She’s an artist. And she was born without arms.

Rosie is an advocate for all children — “gifts from Heaven,” she calls them. She is especially passionate about children born with special abilities.

So Rosie is disturbed by Warner Brothers’ new movie “The Witches.” It portrays witches with deformed, toeless feet which they hide by wearing  pointed shoes, and 3 -fingered claws they hide with gloves.

The Grand High Witch — leader of all the world’s witches — is played by Anne Hathaway. 

She too is a Westporter. Rosie asked “06880” to post this open letter to her neighbor:

Dear Anne Hathaway,

For my children, having a mother with no arms has given them a daily lesson on how our differences are what make us special and unique.

They know that nothing is impossible when you live your life from your heart and soul, loving one another, no matter what our differences are.

Rosie Jon (Photo courtesy of Mindy Briar for Westport Lifestyle Magazine)

So it saddens me deeply to see a community that is close to my heart be hurt by your latest movie.

I admire you and your work, and how you put your heart into everything you do.

I also love that you are a fellow Westport mother. You have shared your big,
compassionate heart for others with our town too, such as joining our town’s
peaceful protests for Black Lives Matter back in June.

We know you care deeply about those who don’t have a voice.

Because I have always appreciated your work, I wanted to let you know that
your latest movie, “The Witches,” by Warner Bros. has caused heartbreak in the Limb Difference community. It has hit me and others in this vulnerable community especially hard.

The children’s film, based on Roald Dahl’s book, took the liberty of changing your character from the original story, to have a limb disability to add “fear” and “evil” to the character.

Anne Hathaway in “The Witches.”

Unfortunately, this has been very hurtful to a community of “lucky fins” who
already have to face a world that judges anyone with a difference with fear and discrimination.

The limb difference community wants the world to see that our differences are to be celebrated, not feared.

A wonderful organization called Lucky Fin Project aims to “celebrate the wonderfully made, one ‘lucky fin’ at a time.” I would love for you to take the opportunity to see the beauty of this organization that is helping the world see
children with limb differences as precious gifts, who were born to make a difference — and definitely not be seen as scary “witches.”

We don’t blame you. We love you. And I feel strongly that this is an opportunity for you to use your platform to educate children and adults about how disability is not something “ugly” or “scary,” but something to embrace with love and acceptance.

We can help families have these important conversations at home. For instance, I address this in my blog post, from my own personal experiences living in Westport with a limb difference.

My dear friend Anne Lawton, a journalist and fellow Westport mother, and I would love to interview you (maybe via Zoom?) to send out a
message of hope to these beautiful children.

I also know an extraordinary 11-year-old girl, Maddie Hostetter, who has modelled for Tommy Hilfiger Children’s Adaptive Clothing Line, whom we can invite to share her experiences living with a limb difference in today’s world with
us too.

But most of all, reaching out to this community and lending your hand to them will help heal some of the hurt that this movie has caused.

With love,
Rosie Jon

11 responses to “Rosie Jon: Open Letter To Anne Hathaway

  1. WoW, I’m speechless, This letter is a gift! Thank you Rosie, Thank you Dan.

  2. mary schmerker

    Yes, Thank you Rosie and Dan. Please listen Anne. This is so important right now especially.

  3. Dick Lowenstein

    Anne Hathaway has already issued a mea culpa:

    That said, people with visible physical differences are often portrayed in an unfavorable light, especially those with albinism.

  4. Kristin Schneeman

    Thank you for this lovely letter, Rosie. You have been an inspiration to many in this community you don’t even know. This film, especially coming when it does, has created a moment for us all to think about the ways in which we need to see and appreciate what is special and unique in each of us rather than what is different and creates unwarranted fear.

  5. Thank you Dan for posting Rosie’s letter to Anne Hathaway. Anne’s Instagram apology is heartfelt. I’m really hoping Anne will meet with me and Rosie for an interview so she can use her platform to help educate others on limb difference sensitivity. Rosie is an inspiration. Born without arms, she rides her bike all over Westport with her kids, paints with her toes and changed all three of her children’s diapers with her feet. She is extraordinary! I’m certain Anne Hathaway will come away from meeting her, grateful to know such a limitless woman. And together we can educate adults and kids alike about such an important topic.

  6. You are so incredible Rosie! This town is so fortunate to have you…

  7. Beautiful open letter from one heart to another.

  8. Thank you for posting this thoughtful letter. It really does seem like quite an insensitive and tone deaf choice to alter the plot in this way. I find it interesting, because my husband and I were just discussing watching THE WITCHES with our 11 year old daughter, who has Alopecia Universalis, an autoimmune disease that has caused her to lose all of her hair. Another key feature to the Witches’ “grotesqueness” is their lack of hair – this plot point is originally from the book. The Witches all wear wigs and then ceremoniously remove them in private to reveal their hairless heads, which are meant to be seen as gross and unsightly. Like those with physical differences, bald people are often portrayed as scary or evil in the media (just take Voldemort for an example). I appreciate you bringing this matter to public attention – kudos to you for reaching out to the seemingly lovely Ms. Hathaway! People with differences need to speak up and those of us that love them need to, too!

  9. Absolutely beautiful, informative, non-shaming letter. Thank you.

  10. When is Hollywood going to apologize to the homicidal sociopath community for making us all look like monsters? Our condition isn’t a choice; it’s just a part of who we are.

  11. Rosie is a beautiful, accomplished woman, and an inspiration to us all.

    But there are other “conditions” that can cause hurting and hateful comments from others. For example, Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes physical and vocal tics. Sometimes the sufferer has Coprolalia, which causes them to utter obscene words or sentences, totally against their will.

    I am familiar with TS because a couple of members of my family have it. My son had to endure bullying, ostracization, ridicule and worse, even though he was a beautiful, loving child.

    Comedians have used TS as the punchline to their gags, which breaks my heart.

    Many accomplished people have been victims of this disorder — Howard Hughes, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jim Ehrenreich, Dan Aykroyd and the young singing sensation, Billie Eilish.

    If only people would be kind, the world would be a beautiful place.