By Melissa Meehan
Parents are hopping mad over a controversial scene in the Peter Rabbit movie that bullies a character who is allergic to blackberries.
The moviemakers and studio, Sony Pictures, have already apologised, but some groups are calling on parents to continue to boycott the film.
The scene includes cartoon characters pelting a human with the fruit, forcing them to use an Epipen to prevent an anaphylactic attack.
Australian non-for profit allergy awareness organisation, Globalaai, says the scene “mocks the seriousness of allergic disease and is heartbreakingly disrespectful to the families of those that have lost loved ones to anaphylaxis”.
“To spread a message that condones such victimising and dangerous behaviour amongst children is grossly offensive to worldwide viewers especially those who live with severe allergic disease,” the group said on its change.com petition calling on Sony to apologise.
Melbourne mother of three Belinda Denney, whose 11-month-old son Jack has a anaphylaxis reaction to peanuts, was outraged such a scene would be included given young kids were impressionable and could re-enact it.
“I was mortified to hear they would include a scene with that kind of bullying,” she said.
“I don’t know how they get away with it.
“I haven’t seen the movie and I don’t want to see the movie because of that.”
In a joint statement to the New York Times, Sony Pictures and the filmmakers said: “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.”
According to Globalaai, 1 in 10 infants in Australia are diagnosed with a food allergy.