Loveable Beatrix Potter character, Peter Rabbit, has a reputation as a naughty bunny who just can’t wait to nibble on treats. In the original book, he hops into a big patch of trouble when he steals a farmer’s lettuce and gets sick. Now, Peter Rabbit’s first movie is in big trouble over another food-related fiasco.
According to the Independent, the new Peter Rabbit movie includes scenes of food allergy bullying, and parents of allergic kids are not happy with the way the scene “mocks the seriousness of allergic disease.”
The Peter Rabbit movie puts a modern twist on the classic tale of tummy upset after the young rabbit gorges on fresh lettuce. In the original Beatrix Potter book, the bunny hurries home to mother, who puts him to bed with chamomile tea and a warning to stay away from archenemy Mr. McGregor.
Roanoke described some of the “chaotic, violent mayhem” of the movie version of the tale, including the food allergy bullying of Mr. McGregor’s hapless nephew, Thomas, played by Domhnall Gleeson. Peter Rabbit’s sore stomach is nothing compared to poor Thomas’ suffering after the bunnies, knowing that Thomas is deathly allergic to blackberries, attack him with the juicy fruit.
After the rabbit rabble bully Thomas over his food allergy and expose him to the blackberries, he becomes very ill. He has to use his EpiPen to prevent anaphylaxis by stabbing himself in the leg.
Allergy groups say the scene is “heartbreakingly disrespectful” to food allergy sufferers, and they are calling for a full boycott of the Peter Rabbit movie.
Many outraged Peter Rabbit fans are taking to Twitter to express their disappointment. “This is not the Peter Rabbit I grew up reading,” one unhappy person tweeted after watching the film.
Others are posting warnings to parents to avoid taking their children to the Peter Rabbit movie, especially if the kids also suffer food allergies.
The Metro reported that the president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America sent an open letter to Sony about the Peter Rabbit movie food allergy bullying. The letter reminds everyone that food allergies are “not a punchline.”