Sony Pictures is facing criticism for making light of food allergies in Peter Rabbit.
In the new children’s movie, a human character named Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) is allergic to blackberries. In an attempt to enter McGregor’s garden, Peter Rabbit (James Corden) and his furry friends pelt McGregor with various fruits and vegetables before using a slingshot to shoot a blackberry into his mouth. McGregor struggles to inject himself with an EpiPen and eventually collapses from anaphylaxis.
Parents who saw the PG-rated film with their children took to social media to express their distaste for the scene, with some claiming it trivializes food allergies and endorses bullying. Others called for a boycott of the flick.
Sony Pictures and the filmmakers behind Peter Rabbit have apologized in response to the backlash. “Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s archnemesis, Mr. McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way,” the studio said in a statement to Us Weekly on Monday, February 12. “We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize.”
The Kids With Food Allergies Foundation warned parents about the scene in a message posted on its website, which said in part that “making light of this condition hurts our members because it encourages the public not to take the rest of allergic reactions seriously.”
Peter Rabbit is now in theaters.