Sony Pictures and the filmmakers behind the new children’s movie Peter Rabbit have issued an apology after facing backlash over a controversial part of the film that some say makes light of food allergies.
The scene in the film shows the villainous Mr. McGregor, who suffers a blackberry allergy, being pelted by Peter Rabbit and his furry friends with the fruit. One berry fires into McGregor’s mouth and he begins to go into anaphylactic shock before stabbing himself with an EpiPen.
Some parents who saw the movie were outraged by the scene suggesting it depicts bullying of someone with a food allergy.
In a joint statement to the New York Times, Sony Pictures and the filmmakers said: “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.”
The hashtag “#BoycottPeterRabbit” has been trending on Twitter over the weekend.
“Please update your Peter Rabbit listing to warn parents of kids with food allergies about the violent food allergy bullying scene. Pure and unnecessary violence. #BoycottPeterRabbit,” one wrote on Twitter.
“As a father of a son who has allergies to peanuts, milk, egg I refuse to watch #PeterRabbit because @SonyPictures is sending a message it’s ok to bully kids with allergies and making it a joke to get a few laughs! What a disgusting thing to do! #boycottpeterrabbit” wrote another.
Of course, there are some on the other side, too, who have come to the defense of the film.
“Let them boycott all they want! It is now clear that this scene is in the movie and it is our decision whether we want to see it or not! Just because they don’t like it for one reason or another doesn’t mean they should have it banned from everyone else to see it!!” one user tweeted.
WATCH THIS: How Julie Bowen Manages Her Son’s Life-Threatening Allergies
In an open letter to Sony Pictures, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America CEO Kenneth Menendez also wrote, “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.”
Kids with Food Allergies—a division of the foundation—also previously cautioned parents on their Facebook page of the scene.