Based on the book by Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit is a family friendly movie, meant to make people laugh — but there is one scene in particular that has done just the opposite.
“They literally used blackberries as a weapon and this would never be tolerated in the day-to-day, in the real world,” said Dominique Seigneur, spokesperson for Allergies Québec.
The scene shows Peter the rabbit and his forest friends attacking Mr. McGregor by throwing blackberries at him — something the character is allergic to. McGregor then starts to choke and has to inject himself with an Epipen.
“I understand he’s kind of the enemy of the rabbits and they’re trying to kill him off — I get that — but it’s a kids movie and I think the problem is that they can have issues of copycat acts,” said Vina Singh, mother of a five-year-old son with a tree nut allergy.
Singh says allergies aren’t something to make light of.
“The problem with the movie, I think, is that it normalizes something that’s really not a joke. It shouldn’t be something that you’re bullied for,” she said. “It’s something that should be taken more seriously than that because it’s somebody’s life that you’re playing with.”
Theresa McEwan can relate. Both of her children have nut allergies and she says food allergy bullying is real and her kids have experienced it first-hand.
“They’ll be children who will stand next to my daughter and say, I have Nutella,” McEwan said. “It’s really unfair.”
On Sunday, Sony released a statement apologizing for the scene saying, they “should not have made light” of a character being allergic to blackberries “even in a cartoonish way.”
Meanwhile, Allergies Québec and the mothers we spoke to say they hope that this will be a learning experience and that it will bring more sensitivity to food allergy issues.
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