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The new Peter Rabbit film, which is out in theaters next month, is sparking concerns for those families with children who suffer from serious allergies.

The film is based on the books by Beatrix Potter and – like Paddington — features computer-generated animals interacting in the real world.

Peter Rabbit, the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude. In the film, Peter’s feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne).

James Corden voices the character of Peter with playful spirit and wild charm, with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley performing the voice roles of the triplets, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

Families are not impressed by one storyline at all

One concerned parent has taken to her Facebook page to share her warning about the movie.

“If you’re taking your kids to see Peter Rabbit, please read this.

My son has severe, life-threatening food allergies. And while I can usually keep my anxiety at bay about it, this movie- that I was going to take my son to go see- has raised some huge concerns and red flags.

In the movie, McGregor has a food allergy to blackberries. The rabbits know this and since they’re trying to get rid of him, decide to throw blackberries at him and are aiming to get one in his mouth. The rabbits succeed and McGregor has to EpiPen himself in the leg to save his own life.

I don’t find this remotely funny or humorous and it’s definitely not a joke.

While my family will not be seeing this movie, I am in no way asking you to do the same thing.

But what I am asking you, is to please have a conversation with your kids about the scene.

Please remind them that it is never OK to tease or taunt somebody who has a food allergy with the food that they are deathly allergic to. It is a severe form of bullying that is extremely dangerous.

Kids have been rushed to the hospital and have died because their peers think it’s funny. And this movie condones the funniness behind it.

Please remind your kids it’s not funny. No part of this is funny.”

US group Kids With Food Allergies Foundation have issued a message to parents about a scene that may be disturbing to young viewers who have a food allergy.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia writes, “Many people with severe allergies have written in about the appalling content which allegedly sees a character being bullied because of his food allergy.

If you are upset, angry or frustrated by corporations than make life with potential life threatening allergy even more difficult(to make a monetary profit), write to Sony Pictures and let them know a story line showing management and support (or no message at all) would have won us over but belittling and bullying is just not acceptable. What were they thinking?”

Australian group Global Anaphylaxis Awareness and Inclusivity (Globalaai) has created a petition asking Sony Pictures to apologise, saying the scene is socially irresponsible.

“This mocks the seriousness of allergic disease and is heartbreakingly disrespectful to the families of those that have lost loved ones to anaphylaxis,” the petition reads.

“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 hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit has also kicked off on social media.

“Given that this movie is aimed at children, to see a character being intentionally attacked with the allergen that they’re allergic to has been really disturbing worldwide, not only for the allergy community but also for parents,” Globalaai founder Dr Pooja Newman said.

“We have a serious problem in our community with a lack of understanding and a lack of appreciation that allergies can be instantaneously life threatening and many children have died all over the world from accidental exposure to food allergens.”

“Unfortunately, I believe the Peter Rabbit movie is sending a message that food allergies are not necessarily to be taken seriously and that food allergy bullying is something that is OK.”

Many parents that have been made aware of the storyline are now stating that they will  no longer be taking their children to view the film.

Sony has issued an apology

Sony Pictures have issued an apology for not being more aware and sensitive to the issue. “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.”

Will you be watching  the movie or joining the boycott?

Share your comments below

Main image via Facebook

  • I was thinking “Oh no, not another over reaction!?” But then I read what happens and yeah, way too extreme for a kids movie. Making fun of life threatening issues is not cool!

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  • I wasn’t going to watch this movie, but I saw the promos and thought they were funny. I also think the PC brigade are going over the top with this and many other things.

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  • I don’t condone what they did but I also don’t think it was done to promote bullying. Just people not thinking straight. Maybe they need to cut this part out or just go back and remake the movie. Either I was never going to see it.

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  • Cant really comment.

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  • It’s also an opportunity to open a discussion within families about bullying, anaphylaxis, food allergies, and use of EpiPens.

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  • I will be watching it, with my children who have been taught the dangers of allergic reactions. I am more concerned at the real violent movies and tv shows kids see online, tv, commercials and video type games.

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  • I wasn’t even aware of this scene but had still chosen to boycott it anyway. I saw the trailer and the movie is a joke. It is nothing like the great children’s stories created by Beatrix Potter and looks beyond stupid! I’m sure they can make better movies than this.

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  • I did see the trailer and thought it would be a cute movie to see, but my son is 16 so I would have gone on my own, or waited until it was on DVD. Whilst I won’t boycott it as such, it certainly has caused a strong reaction, and rightly so, from many families and people affected by food allergies. It is certainly not a clever or ideal scene to include in the movie, in whatever context it might be.

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  • Unnecessary to have that scene in the movie, it does seem dangerous if kids think it is funny and OK to do that too. My other question is why does Peter have to be an a-hole? Excuse my french! He wasn’t like that in the books! Cheeky and mischievous but not a bully. The TV series was so horrendously Americanised that it turned him into an ego driven, insensitive little #@$$%$. Sounds like the movie has made him into an insensitive bully.

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  • Yes, we’ll be watching Peter Rabbit.

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  • That is very cruel indeed, not a wise move to have a scene like that in the movie. Thumbs down to Sony.

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  • Oh dear I see your concern and it’s something I wouldn’t of thought about whilst I probably will take my child to see the movie I will have a talk to him on your exact concern because it’s never ok to bully anyone x

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  • I understand the problem with allergens etc, but really, children are able to differentiate between cartoons and reality, and hopefully a responsible adult is watching the movie with them and can point out that one wouldn’t do that to anyone with allergies in reality. It’s something like the old Tom and Jerry movies being criticized for their violence…a lot of fuss about something that the children didn’t even think to copy, they knew it was a cartoon, not real life! Use this movie as a teaching opportunity, if you must. If the scene bothers you, talk about it with your child and discover whether he/she really thinks that what Peter Rabbit did was okay. You may discover that your child already understands bullying quite well and chooses not to do it.


    • I agree with a lot of your comment and I have child with severe allergies. I remember those cartoons and I remember the furore around them. It was scandalous that I was allowed to watch them as other overprotective parents did not allow their children to watch them. Movies also serve as a learning tool and we have taught everyone around us including children the signs of a reaction and how to deal with it.

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  • I honestly think people look to closely into things.
    Look at the lion king.. scar kills his own brother are we supposed to have a discussion with our children not to kill their siblings? I think somethings are gone without saying.. and people look too hard to find something to be outraged and offended about.

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  • Seriously, our kids today are so wrapped up in cotton wool, they cant do this, they cant do that.
    OK i get allergen issues, however, I am over schools telling me what i can and cannot send my kids to school with because of someone who might have an allergen.
    Ok, i get nuts is difficult to discern, however, most other items are identifiable like bananas, strawberries and so on…
    In fact our school has a child with severe egg intolerance, and kids are taught how to deal with it and can still eat egg as they want to – and guess what for someone so severe – they have never had an episode where an epipen was required.
    It’s time to just accept the cuteness of the movie and move on!!!

    I am over the people ruining what was fun for us as kids – omg, we played on train tracks and in creeks live to tell the tale – yet at no time did anyway actually disrespect trains and were out of the way, and people did not disrespect people like they do today.

    Seriously, if there is every something in a movie that does not fit with our philosophies we discuss it… no need to ruin it for everyone else. To many kids watch the news (and yes some of us do protect our kids from these shows), however, i was listening to a 3 yo telling her grandparents in a coffee shop all about the bloody shooting and how it was done in a recent murder amidst other tales of the news.
    By contrast the Peter Rabbit and other toons are mild by contrast and are all about pushing boundaries – it is a toon and they were initally about anything goes and pushing boundaries because it is not real!!!! it was for entertainment purposes only!
    I would rather watch Peter Rabbit any day over the NEWS!!!!

    Reply

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