The new live-action adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit has caused controversy due to a scene in which a gang of bunnies attack a man with blackberries, knowing he is allergic to them.
The sequence sees a group of rabbits led by Peter (voiced by James Corden) throwing the fruit at Domhnall Gleeson’s Thomas McGregor until one berry lands in his mouth. McGregor is then seen going into anaphylactic shock and reaching for his Epipen.
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“Anaphylaxis can and does kill,” Allergy UK CEO Carla Jones said in a statement. “To include a scene in a children’s film that includes a serious allergic reaction and not to do it responsibly is unacceptable, as is bullying. Mocking 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.”
Some Twitter users have also called a boycott on the film…
How can Sony Pictures release a film where food allergy bullying is acceptable? I guess the film industry won’t understand how wrong this is till they’re covered in hives and struggling to breathe. #boycottpeterrabbit
— Julia B (@PartyVIP101) February 11, 2018
I think everyone needs to let @SonyPictures know that bullying someone with a food they are deathly allergic to is not funny in any way. Real families deal with the fear of this happening to a family member every day. #shame #boycottpeterrabbit #foodallergiesarenotfunny— Quakes-JD (@JDMcCall1) February 12, 2018
Would you laugh at a person with diabetes force fed sugar? No. But that's exactly what you're doing in your movie: continuing to marginalize people with #foodallergies.
So throw an allergen at someone? I’m coming for you.#BoycottPeterRabbit
— ☘️ Jamie ☘️ (@jamiefid) February 10, 2018
Others tried to downplay the scene, arguing it was no worse than other behaviour children see in cartoons.
— Doug (@Dugpic) February 12, 2018
#boycottpeterrabbit is the most ridiculous thing I've seen today and it's 07:17am. I understand where they're coming from but— Sophie ✨ (@TechieDolan) February 12, 2018
1) it's a film
2) the entire film is literally a man setting up inhumane traps to harm rabbits forcing them out of home
3) cartoons have done far worse
I can't believe it, I just watched a Tom and Jerry cartoon saw a mouse DELIBERATELY inflict pain wincing violence on a cat!!! I had a childhood cat and I am very offended by this! Please advise what hashtag we can use to boycott this too 😂 #boycottpeterrabbit #everythingoffends— Patronising Trotsky (@JondanielHarris) February 12, 2018
After a petition called for Sony Pictures to apologise for the movie, the studio and filmmakers issued a statement (via The AP): “[We] sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologise.”
It added they “should not have made light” of a character being allergic to blackberries “even in a cartoonish” way.
Peter Rabbit will hit UK cinemas on 16th March 2018