Parents Are Miffed About One Scene in Peter Rabbit

It shows bunnies pelting a human with food allergies with the food he's allergic to
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2018 8:58 AM CST
Parents Rail Against Peter Rabbit Film for Allergy Scene
This image shows Peter Rabbit, voiced by James Corden, and Cotton-Tail in a scene from "Peter Rabbit."   (Columbia Pictures/Sony via AP, File)

(Newser) – If you're wondering why there's a hashtag to boycott a new children's movie, ask parents of kids with allergies. The BBC reports on the pushback against Sony Pictures' Peter Rabbit, which includes a scene in which Mr. McGregor, who's allergic to blackberries, gets the fruit hurled at him by the title character and his bunny pals. One berry ends up in McGregor's mouth, causing him to go into anaphylactic shock and forcing the use of his EpiPen. "I'm pretty sure Beatrix Potter will be turning in her grave about now," one mom of a child with allergies tells the New York Times. She notes allergies are already often dismissed or ignored by people who aren't affected by them, and that "to have them trivialized on the big screen by such a popular character is immensely disappointing."

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Other parents and advocacy groups agree the film, with James Corden voicing Peter, is partaking in "allergy bullying," per Fortune. Kenneth Mendez, president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, penned an open letter to the filmmakers and Sony, noting that "we strongly urge you to refrain from the type of programming that mocks food allergies in the future." Mendez also points out that Sony has portrayed food allergies as a "punchline" before in children's films, citing one of the Smurfs movies and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs as two examples. Per the AP, Sony has issued a joint statement with the filmmakers apologizing for the scene, admitting the flick shouldn't have "made light" of the character's allergy, "even in a cartoonish, slapstick way." (New guidelines are out on giving babies peanuts.)

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