The makers of the new film Peter Rabbit have apologised after facing a backlash over their depiction of a character’s allergy.
A scene in the film shows a character who suffers a blackberry allergy being pelted with them by a gang of bunnies.
In a joint statement, Sony Pictures and the filmmakers said they “should not have made light” of the issue.
Campaigners condemned the scene and some Twitter users adopted the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.
The charity Kids with Food Allergies Foundation said in a Facebook post “food allergy ‘jokes’ are harmful to our community”.
A petition calling on Sony Pictures to apologise also attracted thousands of signatures.
The offending scene is shown in a film adaptation of the Beatrix Potter book Peter Rabbit, which was released in US cinemas this weekend.
The human character Tom McGregor, who has an allergy to the berries, is attacked by Peter and his friends who shower him with the fruit, even shooting one into his mouth, until he is forced to use an EpiPen to treat his reaction.
On Sunday, Sony Pictures said in a statement that it was wrong for the filmmakers to include the segment, “even in a cartoonish, slapstick way”.
“We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologise,” the statement said.
- You can be allergic to any food but reactions to eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy make up about 90% of all food allergies
- Symptoms can include hives, vomiting, swelling in the mouth and throat and a shortness of breath
- The most serious reaction is anaphylaxis, which can occur within minutes of exposure to a food and can be fatal if untreated – symptoms include breathing difficulties and feeling lightheaded