Editorial and Media Roundup: Peter Rabbit Movie Outrage

Peter Rabbit

The reaction to Sony Pictures Entertainment’s “Peter Rabbit” movie from the food allergy community has been swift and unanimous.

In the controversial scene, Beatrix Potter’s title character and his friends attack the nephew of Peter’s nemesis with blackberries, knowing he is allergic to the berries. At one point, a blackberry is shot into the nephew’s mouth after which he quickly becomes ill and has to stab himself in the leg with an epinephrine auto-injector.

Upon the release of the movie, Sony was universally condemned by major food allergy advocacy groups prompting use of the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

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Adding our own voice to the response, there is simply no excuse for the Sony’s decision to make light of food allergies including the insinuation that some fake food allergies for attention. The studio execs who gave the green light to the scene must either be complete idiots – unaware of the food allergy epidemic that is rampant throughout the country – or tone deaf to the frustration, concerns, and anguish of the 13% of children in the US who suffer from the disease and their families.

Here follows the responses from advocacies as well as media reports from major outlets covering the controversy:

  • Kids with Food Allergies (KFA):
    “The new movie, Peter Rabbit, has a scene that may be disturbing to young viewers who have a food allergy. A character is intentionally attacked with his allergen, leading to anaphylaxis and the use of epinephrine. Parents should be aware of this before your children see the movie so you can talk with your child(ren) about it.
    KFA believes that food allergy “jokes” are harmful to our community. During a reaction, patients require the life-saving drug epinephrine and must go to the nearest hospital for follow-up treatment. The very real fear and anxiety that people experience during an allergic reaction (often referred to as an impending sense of doom) is a serious matter. 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.”
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  • Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE):
    “PLEASE BE ADVISED: Reviews of the movie Peter Rabbit as well as personal accounts from members of our community indicate there is a scene in the new family film released this weekend in which a character experiences a life-threatening reaction after being purposely targeted with his allergen. Feedback from members of the food allergy community on this scene, including the depiction of the character being treated with epinephrine, is mixed. We want to make you aware that viewing this scene may be upsetting to some children, and are sharing the feedback we have received so that families are able to make an informed choice before seeing this movie.”

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