In general, Sony's new flick Peter Rabbit fared better than expected this weekend, pulling in $25 million at the box office. However, not everyone is super stoked about the revenge premise in Peter Rabbit. In fact, an angry group of parents sent out an online letter after finding out Peter Rabbit intentionally makes his nemesis swallow a blackberry even though the man, McGregor, has a food allergy. Now, Sony has officially apologized for the plot point. According to the studio, the movie shouldn't have taken food allergies lightly, even in "a cartoonish, slapstick way." Per Sony:
Sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize.
More spoilers for Peter Rabbit are going to be in this paragraph. So if you aren't deterred by food allergies and plan to see the movie, you may want to check out one of our other articles. The basic gist of the movie is that McGregor moves in, locking up the gate to his garden and starting to fall for Bea, Peter Rabbit's human friend. This starts a war between Peter and McGregor, and one of the attacks from the rabbits involves them shooting blackberries at McGregor with slingshots. One lands in his mouth, and an Epi Pen has to be used to save the gardener.
For most people watching the movie, this was likely a mean-spirited but very cartoon-like gag. For a group of people watching the movie, however, food allergies are real and they can be very serious. To them, the scene in Peter Rabbit is no joking matter. A hashtag, #boycottpeterrabbit was created for the movie as a result of the response. The group, Kids with Food Allergies, also issued this comment over the weekend that equated the scene in the movie to "food allergy bullying," also noting,
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.
Sony has since apologized about the joke, noting to the AP that the studio will look to be more sensitive in the future, after the parents group also noted the studio had food allergy-related moments in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Smurfs. Kids movies are not all made alike. Some are scarier, some have racier jokes, and some are made for younger or older audiences. It's generally up to the parents to decide if the content is something their kids can handle and something they want to spend cash on. Peter Rabbit stars Domnhall Gleeson, Rose Byrne and the voice of James Corden. If you'd like to see it, it's currently in theaters.