Sony Pictures has apologized after advocacy groups criticized a scene in which the main character intentionally causes an allergic reaction. At least one group has called for the film's withdrawal.
Sony Pictures have apologized after allergy advocacy organizations lashed out against a newly released "Peter Rabbit" movie for allegedly trivializing food allergies.
The film, based on the popular children's story by Beatrix Potter, includes a scene in which the protagonist and his long-eared companions pelt the human character of Mr. McGregor with fruit. The attack forces McGregor, who has a berry allergy, to use an EpiPen to treat a severe allergic reaction.
Sony and the filmmakers said in a joint statement the movie "should not have made light" of the character's disease and that "food allergies are a serious issue," according to the AP news agency.
"Food allergy 'jokes' are harmful to our community," said Kids With Food Allergies Foundation, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. "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."
Allergy UK called for the film to be withdrawn, citing the depiction of bullying that had "deeply concerned and upset" the allergic community.
"To include a scene in a children's film that includes a serious allergic reaction and not to do it responsibly is unacceptable, as is bullying," CEO Carla Jones said.
Some users on the social media platform Twitter voiced their support for a boycott in response to the scene using the hashtag "#boycottpeterrabbit"
The film was released on Friday in the US and Canada and is set to be released in Germany on March 22.