In a joint statement, Sony Pictures, along with filmmakers for the movie “Peter Rabbit,” apologized for “insensitively” depicting the character with a food allergy.
Sony Pictures began receiving backlash after the movie was released over the weekend, and portrayed a character, Mr. McGregor, with a blackberry allergy. In the scene that created the backlash, rabbits fling fruit at Mr. McGregor, and he is forced to use an EpiPen.
The scene is now being described as “allergy bullying,” and has led towards the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit becoming trending in response.
Kids with Food Allergies, a charity group, posted a warning about the scene on their Facebook page, claiming that allergy jokes are harmful for their community, and that making light of the condition “encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously.”
The backlash was far reaching, including condemnation from Kenneth Mendez, who is the President of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In an open letter to the studio, Mendez urged the studio to “examine [their] portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience.”
Following the wave of backlash, the studio was forced to apologize, stating that they “Sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue.”