Parents of children with allergies are calling for a boycott of the new Peter Rabbit film as it features a scene they claim makes light of the condition and encourages bullying.
The new live action film, based on the much-loved Beatrix Potter tale, contains a scene where a gang of bunnies attack farmer McGregor with blackberries as they know he's allergic to them.
US-based organisation Kids With Allergies drew attention to the issue in a Facebook post, which has been shared more than 10,000 times, warning parents to speak to their children before viewing the film where 'a character is intentionally attacked with his allergen, leading to anaphylaxis and the use of epinephrine.'
The organisation, which is a branch of The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has also written to Sony pictures, in a letter that states the film 'makes light of the seriousness of food allergies and suggests that food allergies are “made up for attention”.'
Meanwhile, parents have been sharing their outrage on social media, using the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.
The issue has provoked a furious debate, with some parents claiming it could put children's lives at risk while others argue it's 'just a film' and the playful violence is no different to the likes of Tom and Jerry.
Parents of children with allergies are calling for a boycott of the new Peter Rabbit film, claiming it could encourage assault and bullying
US-based organisation Kids With Allergies drew attention to the issue in a Facebook post, which has been shared more than 10,000 times
Upset parents who have called for a boycott include the mother of a toddler who is allergic to several foods who described flicking food at an affected individual as 'felony aggravated assault'.
Another pointed out: 'Food allergies are real and my son could DIE if he ate something he's allergic to.'
However, others felt the complainants were being too sensitive.
'How did we all survive road runner and coyote?' one Facebook user asked. 'Boycott if you choose but you are talking about a movie that has a talking rabbit with a jacket and no pants. Key word here Movie .... entertainment.'
Parents have made their feelings about the film clear, encouraging a boycott of the movie for its irresponsible portrayal of allergies
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation has written to Sony pictures complaining about the representation of allergies in Peter Rabbit and other films such as The Smurfs
However, The Asthma and Allergy Foundation has urged parents to contact Sony pictures to express their concerns.
In a letter to the company, they wrote: The segment featured the intentional attack of the McGregor character with the food he is allergic to – the implication being that the rabbits wanted to kill or harm McGregor with this method. The result is that McGregor experienced a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, and treated himself with his epinephrine injection.
'This isn’t the first time that Sony Pictures Animation has used food allergies as a punchline in the plot of a kids’ movie. Sony has misrepresented food allergies in “The Smurfs” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” as well.'
The issue has provoked a furious debate among parents with many insisting it puts vulnerable children at risk, while others have argued that it's 'just a film'