'Peter Rabbit' filmmakers apologize for making light of allergies

Peter Rabbit cartoon with the words

In the movie, Mr. McGregor is allergic to blackberries. The rabbits fling the fruit at him in a scene and he is forced to use an EpiPen.

The company said: 'We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologise'.

"Mocking an allergic disease shows a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of food allergy and trivialises the challenges faced by those who live with this condition, particularly parents who live in fear of their child suffering a life threatening reaction".

Campaigners condemned the scene and some Twitter users adopted the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

"Given that this movie is aimed at children, to see a character being intentionally attacked with the allergen that they're allergic to has been really disturbing worldwide, not only for the allergy community but also for parents", Globalaai founder Dr Pooja Newman said.

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According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America president, Kenneth Mendez, this isn't the first time Sony Pictures Animation has used food allergies as a "punchline in the plot of a kids' movie" with The Smurfs and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs including similar scenes.

"We encourage you to examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward young audience", it said.

Some shared stories on social media about people who had to go through severe anxiety or even post-traumatic stress disorder following their experiences with anaphylaxis.

One started a petition calling for Sony Pictures, the distributor, to apologise, which it now has done. Police later arrested a fellow student on suspicion of attempted murder, the Sun reported.

"Unfortunately, I believe the Peter Rabbit movie is sending a message that food allergies are not necessarily to be taken seriously and that food allergy bullying is something that is OK". Last year, its trailer invited criticism from many for its violent scenes. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit's archnemesis, Mr. McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way.

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