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People Are Outraged By A Scene In "Peter Rabbit" That Features A Character Going Into Anaphylactic Shock

The scene features Peter and his rabbit friends hurling blackberries at someone, knowing they're allergic.

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People are angrily calling for a boycott of the new Sony Pictures-produced Peter Rabbit because of a scene in the film that involves "food allergy bullying".

I am a mother of 2 Anaphylactic Boys And I will be boycotting this Film Are you KIDDING MY kids do not make this u… https://t.co/f9QBTGStOD

The film, which introduces a CGI big screen Peter Rabbit into the 21st century, features voice acting from James Corden and Margot Robbie, among others. The plot hinges off similar themes seen in Beatrix Potter's original books and finds Peter Rabbit feuding with his usual nemesis, Mr McGregor, and McGregor's nephew Tom.

Hang out with Peter Rabbit Saturday at #SonySquareNYC & celebrate opening weekend with us. In theaters February 9.… https://t.co/AqEDLc4xuq

The scene causing the controversy features Tom being pelted with blackberries by Peter Rabbit and his friends, who know he is allergic to them. At one point Tom inhales a blackberry before becoming ill and having to stab himself with an Epipen. It's being called "dangerous" and "upsetting".

The scene has sparked responses from organisations including the Kids With Food Allergies Foundation (KFA) and Food Allergy Research & Education. "The very real fear and anxiety that people experience during an allergic reaction ... is a serious matter," said KFA in a statement on its Facebook.

Facebook: kidswithfoodallergies

"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."

Hundreds of people on social media have also voiced their concern, with a petition started asking for an apology from Sony Pictures.

As a mother of a toddler allergic to several foods, I am disgusted that Sony would make a joke out of flicking an a… https://t.co/Dpi22UKinD

@SonyPictures There is a scene in the movie when someone who has food allergies is intentionally targeted. food all… https://t.co/TmUwSujrAC

@SonyPictures I don’t know what you were thinking when making Peter Rabbit. We will be boycotting it along with mil… https://t.co/9mjWwvqtmr

Heads up: Peter Rabbit includes bullying by food allergy, as rabbits target villainous character by throwing blackb… https://t.co/ph54XWGNJn

And the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit also began trending this past weekend.

@FoodAllergyBuzz @SonyPictures @FoodAllergy - The scene will make you want to vomit, @FoodAllergyBuzz. Sickened… https://t.co/DfPtyoGrrt

I think that Peter Rabbit's idea of force-feeding blackberries to an allergic individual is irresponsible and horri… https://t.co/KrI4hrXRdq

Finding “humor” in bullying by Peter & friends to an allergy friend (who then needs an Epi) is irresponsible. Sham… https://t.co/iKAfVEifUg

Stephanie Lowe of Turn It Teal, an awareness campaign aiming to raise food allergy awareness around the world, told BuzzFeed News she was worried about the film being potentially played in schools. "My hope is that parents are aware of the issues and judge for themselves if their children can handle the situation portrayed in the film," she said.

The #PeterRabbitMovie issue isn’t just about bullying. It’s about walking into a movie expecting to be entertained… https://t.co/NC6EaMuKRD

"With so many young children – one in thirteen – dealing with life-threatening food allergies, I do feel it was not a great choice of conditions to portray on film."

Sony Pictures and the filmmakers of Peter Rabbit apologised on Monday morning in a joint statement, saying the film "should not have made light" of a character having serious allergies, "even in a cartoonish, slapstick way".

“Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s arch nemesis, 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.”