Parents probably look back fondly on Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit books, which were filled with cute stories about a mischievous, veggie-stealing bunny who wore a jacket and shoes.
But after watching the new Peter Rabbit spin-off, moms and dads - and their kids - might have been left with less-than-happy memories. The movie, released on Friday, introduces Tom McGregor, the nephew of Peter's longtime enemy, farmer Mr. McGregor. Tom has a blackberry allergy, a fatal flaw that Peter later uses to his advantage.
In a battle to gain control of the garden, rabbits throw fruit and vegetables at Tom before Peter finally uses a slingshot to shoot a blackberry into his mouth. Tom has to inject himself with his EpiPen, goes into anaphylactic shock, and then collapses.
News spread quickly about the scene, and parents started a campaign on Twitter to #BoycottPeterRabbit. "I'm pretty sure Beatrix Potter will be turning in her grave right about now," one mom told The New York Times in an interview.
#PeterRabbitMovie @SonyPictures- ☘️ Jamie ☘️ (@jamiefid) February 10, 2018
Would you laugh at a person with diabetes force fed sugar? No. But that's exactly what you're doing in your movie: continuing to marginalize people with #foodallergies.
So throw an allergen at someone? I’m coming for you.#BoycottPeterRabbit
@SonyPictures What a disgrace - teaching children it's okay to bully and harass others with food allergies. You obviously have no staff with children who could DIE from food allergies. #attemptedmurder #foodallergies #boycottpeterrabbit- Allison Wells (@OrangeAlli) February 10, 2018
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
As a father of a son who has allergies to peanuts, milk, egg I refuse to watch #PeterRabbit because @SonyPictures is sending a message it’s ok to bully kids with allergies and making it a joke to get a few laughs! What a disgusting thing to do! #boycottpeterrabbit- L.M. Thomas (@adaddyforlife) February 11, 2018
On Saturday, the Food Allergy Research and Education organization posted a warning on Facebook that the scene might be upsetting to viewers who have allergies.
PLEASE BE ADVISED: Reviews of the movie Peter Rabbit as well as personal accounts from members of our community...Posted by Food Allergy Research & Education on Saturday, February 10, 2018
Sony Pictures has responded to viewers' concerns in a statement, saying, "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."
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