Peter Rabbit, a brand new live-action and animated hybrid movie, hit theaters this past weekend, and now the film is finding itself in a bit of hot water. The the story follows the whimsical adventures of Peter Rabbit and his furry friends as they try to take control of Mr. McGregor’s garden in an updated version of the cherished Beatrix Potter books. However, this new adaption includes a scene where a food allergy ends up the butt of a joke, and it’s not sitting well with audiences.
In the movie, Domhnall Gleeson’s Mr. McGregor explains that he has an allergy to blackberries and that information is later used against him when Peter Rabbit launches a blackberry into his mouth, in an effort to stop him once and for all. Mr. McGregor, thankfully, has his EpiPen on him, and while the scene is meant to be portrayed in a funny way, audiences — especially parents with children who suffer from food allergies — don’t think the scene is funny at all. In fact, many thought it was dangerous.
The Kids with Food Allergies Foundation issued a statement that warned parents about the scene and issued a statement to explain why the scene was so troubling, writing:
While the scene might seem harmless to some — obviously a human man dealing with rabbits pelting him with the thing he is deathly allergic to is not a normal occurrence — the fact that this movie is directed at kids makes this truly problematic. Twitter is also up in arms about the moment in the film, with many calling for a boycott:
Sony has already apologized for the moment in the film, and according to the New York Times they issued a statement in response, writing in an e-mail :
However, to many parents, the damage has already been done. It’s important to teach kids about food allergies and how to best support their classmates who deal with them. The silver lining is that Peter Rabbit has unintentionally brought up the conversation in families, but it would have been far better had this kid’s movie treated this very serious issue with respect in the first place.