Why Peter Rabbit Is Facing Criticism For Its Treatment of Food Allergies

The recently released Peter Rabbit film has become an unlikely source of controversy due to a scene improperly depicting food allergies. Many parents have since spoken out and are encouraging a boycott against the film.

In the live-action animated movie, a crew of mischievous rabbits hatch a plan to sneak into farmer Tom McGregor's garden. The rabbits throw fruits and veggies at the farmer before successfully slingshotting a blackberry — which he is allergic to — into his mouth. Mr. McGregor immediately goes into anaphylactic shock and struggles to inject himself with an EpiPen. The rabbits then reportedly cheer.

In an open letter, the president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Kenneth Mendez, wrote, "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."

Following the outpouring of criticism, Sony Pictures released a joint statement with the filmmakers apologizing for the scene. "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," the statement read. "We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize."