Food allergies are not a joke, as the makers of "Peter Rabbit," an adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale, learned the hard way. Since the film's release on Friday, parents and advocacy groups have spoken out about a scene in which the mischievous Peter and his animal friends attack their human archnemesis, Thomas McGregor, with the very thing he's allergic to: blackberries.
It was one attack in a series of takedowns between the critters, who were trying to sneak into Mr. McGregor's garden, but reflects a potentially traumatic event for kids with life-threatening food allergies. While the forest friends pelt him with fruits and vegetables, a blackberry flies into the man's mouth, causing him to choke and inject himself with epinephrine.
The backlash was swift.
Kids with Food Allergies Foundation tweeted a warning about the scene, which noted that it might be disturbing to young viewers with food allergies, and wrote a Facebook post, saying, "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."
We invite the makers of Peter Rabbit movie to help us promote positive attitudes and safe environments for kids with food allergies. #foodallergiesarenotapunchline https://t.co/7mNKlihdt1 @SonyPictures @SonyAnimation @willgluckwhat
The KFA and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America also wrote a letter to Sony and the filmmakers, noting that Sony has used food allergies as weapons and punchlines in children's movies before, including "The Smurfs" and "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," and calling on the studio to work together to promote safe environments for those with food allergies.
Angry parents say that the scene pokes fun at a condition that many people already don't take seriously, but should. From a 5-year-old classmate trying to shove a strawberry into an allergic girl's mouth to the preschooler who died from a grilled cheese sandwich, stories of food allergies taken lightly are still common.
Brayden Drey, a 7-year-old with severe allergies, told the New York Times that he didn't like the scene and was afraid and upset that Mr. McGregor had to use an EpiPen to inject himself with epinephrine.
"People that don't deal with this don't understand," said his mom, Nicole Drey, who has spent years helping Brayden deal with bullying and everyday food allergy challenges.
The Peter Rabbit apology story isn't about people being 'offended'. It's about a movie for young children trivialising something dangerous and even encouraging risk. And yet, idiots are shouting 'Oh, snowflakes!'
Ppl saying the objections about Peter Rabbit are unreasonable: you do know that people abuse and endanger the lives of people with allergies by forcing exposure to allergens without their permission?
Sony issued an apology yesterday: "Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s archnemesis, 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."
But not everyone thinks the studio should have apologized in the first place.
"Sony shouldn't have apologized for pretty conventional storytelling in the service of a standard character arc. Yes, Peter uses Thomas’ allergy against him in a moment of cruelty, but the emergency is quickly solved ... and Peter’s behavior is not remotely viewed as positive or becoming of a true onscreen hero (Paddington would not have approved). He’s a flawed onscreen hero acting in a poor way who later changes his behavior and becomes happier as a result," wrote Scott Mendelson for Forbes.
Others also say that some parents are taking it too seriously. Slapstick violence between two enemies has been a part of children's shows for a long time (e.g., Tom and Jerry, or Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny).
instead of boycotting peter rabbit over the allergy scene , why don't y'all use this as a teachable moment for young children and show them the seriousness of an reaction instead of , using social media and movies as a way to raise your child . educate your children yourself .
So Peter Rabbit tries to kill the farmer with his blackberry allergy and parents want the movie banned. The roadrunner pushed the coyote off a lot of cliffs and I knew not to do that. I have a food allergy - not offended. #PeterRabbitMovie
My two cents about this Peter Rabbit nonsense. I watched cartoons as a child and not once thought of it as a manual for appropriate behaviour in real life. If your child thinks it's ok to hurt someone (with an allergy or not) the problem is not with the movie.
Looks like Peter Rabbit dug up more controversy than he thought in the garden.
When it comes to allergic reactions involving children's lungs, asthma could be the culprit. So keep an eye out for sudden-onset signs, whether kids are indoors or out.
“Symptoms from allergens can be acute if you are exposed to a new animal or when you go outside to play sports when it is warm,” says Dr. Brian Schroer, a pediatric allergist at the Cleveland Clinic. “These symptoms are often coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.”
Avoiding the source is your kid's best bet for reducing asthma symptoms, so visit your doctor to locate the allergen.