Peter Rabbit film criticised for bullying

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.

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.

Do you think the scene is inappropriate?


  1. Shelz69 28/02/2018 at 10:20 am

    I think my kids would freak out if they watched this and be scared. They don’t have severe allergies but have some friends that do. I do think this may upset them and will be definitely talking to them about if I choose to watch this movie. Could be an opportunity to talk about it as well

  2. Alezandra 27/02/2018 at 11:08 pm

    Woah, we haven’t watched this film. But this article helped me to make this as a watch-out list. The books are awesome and it’s sad to see this book turned movie adaptation just gone wrong.

  3. kymmage 26/02/2018 at 4:01 pm

    I think as long as it sparks a conversation with your kids about what a friend is, how a friend should act and whether it is bullying. Remembering that being rude, or mean is slightly different to bullying. But in our school we have severe food allergies on children and we make changes to keep them safe. I believe it’s in everyone’s best interests to do that – o don’t really want my kid to see someone have a severe medical situation in front of them if it could be avoided. Encouraging my kids to act with kindness always, the world needs more understanding and if someone’s feelings have been hurt that doesn’t mean they are being overly sensitive. It’s just an opportunity to learn. As far as kids movies go, there will always be some things that I find unacceptable. Like boys being referred to as “ladies” or “girls” for showing weakness. Or girls only being 2D princesses.

  4. Mands1980 15/02/2018 at 1:22 pm

    I can see the point if you were a parent of a child who may have a serious allergy that is life threatening but at the same time it is just a movie. I think it is each families personal opinion whether they want to watch it. Also clarify to your own children how some children have allergies and they can’t eat certain foods. By looking at the advertisement for the movie it looks like a great movie for kids and I can not make judgement until I have actually viewed it.

  5. Bevik1971 14/02/2018 at 4:43 pm

    The world is PC mad, however there can be a line. I do not have anyone I know that has a severe allergic reaction to any foods but could imagine how terrible that would be if it could be a life and death situation. But yes there are more terrible movies around that kids watch and laugh at, so I guess it’s up to parents as to whether their kids watch the movie or not.

  6. Jen_Wiig 13/02/2018 at 1:45 pm

    I would have to tend to agree with the other side where yes it can be deemed abit offensive esp if you have a child who suggests debilitating allergies like that but where do we stop when we start to put everything into a group? Like the writer in above comment says home alone covers alot of not so savory scences yet it’s a classic “family” movie obviously the creators of the movie didn’t set out to bully anyone and have apologised for offending and if it really does bother you that much them don’t watch it. Or use it as a learning tool… If I watched it with my kids I’d certainly say “and that’s how not to treat someone with allergies” and have a conversation about it with them….we have to trust that our kids know right from wrong and that the things we see in movies are make belive and not how real life works… If they can’t get that then maybe their too young to see the film perhaps? It’d a tough one as I can see why people are annoyed by it and unless u live it daily can be hard to completely understand.

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