It seems Peter Rabbit is in a bit of hot water (excuse the pun, but it was deliberate!). Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of Peter Rabbit has made its way to the big screen in a new movie due out in March 2018. But a scene in the movie is causing a lot of controversy.
Food allergy bully
The scene in question shows a group of rabbits intentionally attacking a human with a food he is allergic to (blackberries), resulting in the person suffering a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, and needing to use an epi pen. The movie is also accused of joking about the seriousness of food allergies.
Some food allergy advocacy groups are calling for a boycott of the movie, or at least, an apology from its creators. Organisations like the Kids With Food Allergies Foundation have criticised the movie for its portrayal of what it refers to as “food allergy bullying”.
“We encourage you to examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience. We strongly urge you to refrain from the type of programming that mocks food allergies in the future.” Kids with Food Allergies Foundation
Is it OK because it’s “just a movie”?
Opinions on the controversy are split. Some say that the scene opens up a dialogue for parents of non-allergy sufferers to discuss the topic more. But many parents of children with allergies have agreed with the bullying accusation.
As a mother of a toddler allergic to several foods, I am disgusted that Sony would make a joke out of flicking an allergen at a food allergic individual. Doing so is felony aggravated assault! What kind of message does that scene send to kids?! #boycottpeterrabbit
— hydrogirl71 (@hydrogirl71) February 10, 2018
Other social media users have suggested that what is acceptable to be portrayed on screen has changed over the years.
According to the BBC, Sony Pictures released a statement that it was wrong for the filmmakers to include the segment, “even in a cartoonish, slapstick way”.
“We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologise,” the statement said.
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