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Sony apologizes for 'Peter Rabbit' film's portrayal of food allergies after backlash from parents

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Sony Pictures apologized for its depiction of food allergies in the movie, "Peter Rabbit," after a backlash from advocacy groups. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

The studio and filmmakers behind "Peter Rabbit" issued an apology Sunday after it received backlash from some groups and parents on social media for a scene depicting a character's food allergy.

What happened in the scene?

One of the human characters, Mr. McGregor, is a farmer who is allergic to blackberries.

In one of the scenes, the gang of bunnies pelts the farmer with blackberries, which forces him to use an EpiPen.

An EpiPen is an injection of epinephrine that treats anaphylaxis, a condition caused by allergic reactions to foods, bee stings, and other allergens.

What was the response?

The charity group, Kids with Food Allergies, called the allergy jokes harmful to its community.

The group, which said it has zero tolerance for food allergy bullying, posted a message on social media that called the movie's depiction of food allergies "disturbing."

It prompted some parents to use the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, on Saturday wrote an open letter to the film studio offering to educate the company and movie's cast on food allergies.

He also called on the filmmakers to “examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience," Entertainment Weekly reported.

"Making light of this condition hurts our members because it encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously, and this cavalier attitude may make them act in ways that could put an allergic person in danger," Kids with Food Allergies said in a Facebook post.

Sony said in the statement, it “should not have made light” of a character being allergic to blackberries “even in a cartoonish, slapstick way."

What did Sony say? 

Sony Pictures and the filmmakers responded in a joint statement on Sunday, saying they “Sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize,” according to The Associated Press.

 

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