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Parents Boycott New 'Peter Rabbit' Movie Over Food Allergy Scene

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“Peter Rabbit” was released in the U.S. last week, and while a film about a feud between a human and a talking rabbit over a garden seems like a feel-good family movie, some moviegoers are upset about a scene involving a food allergy.

Tom McGregor, the human played by Domhnall Gleeson, is pelted with blackberries by Peter Rabbit, voiced by James Corden, and the other rabbits. It sounds harmless at first, but the bunnies are aware that McGregor is allergic to blackberries. When a berry ends up in McGregor’s mouth, he goes into anaphylaxis and has to use an Epipen. McGregor then collapses to the ground.

Some watchers, many parents of children with food allergies, were upset by the scene. The uproar was loud enough that Sony Pictures and the filmmakers issued an apology on Sunday.

“Food allergies are a serious issue,” a statement emailed to The New York Times read. “Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s archnemesis, Mr. McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way. We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize.”

The debate about the movie’s scene was largely over social media. On Twitter, people said the scene made light of food allergies. About one-third of children with food allergies are bullied for their allergy, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). It’s such a common problem that FARE has created a “It’s Not a Joke” campaign to address food allergy bullying.

Others thought the uproar was unwarranted, citing the scene as an opportunity to educate children.

What’s your take? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo via Twitter

Originally published: February 13, 2018
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