Peter Rabbit film team apologise for making light of allergies after backlash


Kenneth Mendez, the president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, wrote an open letter to the studio Saturday asking for the opportunity to educate the company and the film's cast on the realities of food allergies and urged the studio to "examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience".

The film was released in the USA last week and according to America's Kids With Food Allergies Foundation (KFA), it includes a scene where a character is intentionally attacked with his allergen, which leads to anaphylaxis.

In one scene, the character Tom McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) who suffers from a blackberry allergy is pelted with the fruit by Peter and his friends.

Sony Pictures has said sorry about it all, and we'll see if it really means it when Peter Rabbit hits United Kingdom cinemas in March with this scene either intact (not really sorry) or removed (really sorry).

"During a reaction, patients require the life-saving drug epinephrine and must go to the nearest hospital for follow-up treatment", it said.

Following this, some Twitter users adopted the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

The post encouraged parents to discuss the scene with their kids prior to taking them to the movie and said "making light" of allergic reactions could be at the cost of another person's life.

On Sunday, Sony Pictures said in a statement that it was wrong for the filmmakers to include the segment, "even in a cartoonish, slapstick way".

Not long after the post, a petition calling for Sony Pictures to apologise quickly attracted over 9,000 signatures.

"We are aware that the reactions about this movie by our community are mixed".

"A character is intentionally attacked with his allergen, leading to anaphylaxis and the use of epinephrine [medication reversing allergy reactions]".

"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".

"At least based on its trailer, the "Peter Rabbit" film appears to have been aggressively engineered to make people sad", a reviewer said then.