The mischievous Peter Rabbit is in trouble again, although for reasons you probably wouldn’t expect. The new children’s movie named after the popular Beatrix Potter character had to issue an apology for a scene which some say makes light of food allergies.
In the film, the villainous Mr. McGregor is pelted with blackberries by the bunny and suffers a severe allergic reaction. One berry enters his mouth and he goes into anaphylactic shock, stabbing himself with an EpiPen. Wow, they sure are taking creative liberties with the original, turn-of-the-century text.
Some parents were angered and thought it encouraged kids to bully those with food allergies. To be fair, bullying of any kind is never cool, but neither is kicking innocent rabbits out of your garden. It goes both ways, you know! But as a result of the outrage, a #BoycottPeterRabbit hashtag even emerged on social media over the weekend
And to make matters even more serious, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America CEO Kenneth Menendez also wrote an open letter to Sony Pictures stating, “making light of this condition hurts our members because it encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously, and this cavalier attitude may make them act in ways that could put an allergic person in danger.”
The filmmakers eventually apologized, probably to save face and squash the controversy as quickly as possible. In a joint statement to the New York Times, Sony Pictures and the filmmakers said, “Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s arch-nemesis, 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.”
In the meantime, we’ll stick with the ever-so-polite Paddington Bear, thank you very much.
Header image courtesy of Sony Pictures.