Parenting News

Peter Rabbit filmmakers apologise over allergy 'bullying' scene

Outrage from families of children affected by severe allergies.

The filmmakers behind the new Peter Rabbit movie have apologised over a scene making fun of a character's food allergy.

The offending scene shows a gang of bunnies throwing blackberries at a character who is allergic to the berries.

Sony Pictures and the filmmakers released a joint statement saying they "should not have made light" of the issue.

A food allergy is an exaggerated immune system to a food protein and the body triggers an allergic reaction. Often an EpiPen is used following a severe reaction.
A food allergy is an exaggerated immune system to a food protein and the body triggers an allergic reaction. Often an EpiPen is used following a severe reaction.

The movie, which was released in the US over the weekend, is due to screen in New Zealand at the end of March.

Families of children with severe allergies are outraged over a scene in the movie which shows the human character Tom McGregor, who has an allergy to blackberries, being pelted with berries until he is forced to use an EpiPen to treat his reaction.

The chief executive of Allergy UK, Carla Jones, told The Telegraph, that allergies are not a trivial matter.

"Anaphylaxis can and does kill. To include a scene in a children's film that includes a serious allergic reaction and not to do it responsibly is unacceptable.

"Mocking allergic disease shows a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of allergy and trivialises the challenges faced by those with this condition."

A food allergy is an exaggerated immune system to a food protein and the body triggers an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. In some cases, it can cause potentially life-threatening symptoms, called anaphylaxis, either by breathing difficulties and/or a sudden drop in blood pressure.

According to Allergy New Zealand, the most common allergies are to cow's milk and egg, followed by soy, peanuts, tree nuts and wheat.