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Folks Are Up in Arms Over an Insensitive Food Allergy Scene in 'Peter Rabbit'

Parents are threatening to boycott the film.

Folks Are Up in Arms Over an Insensitive Food Allergy Scene in 'Peter Rabbit'
Sony Pictures

In case you were the one person eagerly anticipating seeing the new Peter Rabbit film, I bring grim news.

Apparently, there is a scene in which Peter and his furry gang try to pelt blackberries into the mouth of Peter's nemesis, Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson). Seems harmless enough? This is 2018 — think again.

Unfortunately for Mr. McGregor (and now Sony Entertainment), the character is deadly allergic to blackberries. After Peter and friends succeed in their attempts, Mr. McGregor goes into anaphylaxis and is ultimately forced to use an epi-pen to save himself.

The Kids with Food Allergies Foundation, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, wrote an open letter to Sony, which read, in part: 

"It is unnecessary for a film to show the characters intentionally attacking another with his food allergen to trigger anaphylaxis. Portraying anaphylaxis as a joke can cause some people to have a cavalier attitude about food allergies which can put kids with food allergies at risk."

Sony and the Peter Rabbit team then released this statement in response to the allergy debacle:

"Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s archnemesis, 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."

A few concerned parents criticized the insensitive nature of the film's allergy scene via Twitter and called for a boycott of the film. 

However, there was also a large cohort of tweeters who thought the boycott an overreaction. Instead, as one user pointed out, parents should use the film as a "teachable moment."

When all is said in done, the boycott seems to have made little impression so far. The film raked in $25 million at the box office this past weekend, coming in second place only behind Fifty Shades Freed.