As far as 2018 movies starring a talking CGI animal in a blue coat go, Peter Rabbit is by far the most controversial. (I’d say sorry to Paddington, but he’s too polite to accept my apology.) The James Corden-starring film, which failed to make an impression at the box office but is way better than the trailers would have you believe, includes a scene where the titular rascally rabbit mocks Mr. McGregor’s son’s (played by Domhnall Gleeson) blackberry allergy. Later, Peter, along with his three sisters, Cottontail, Flopsy, and Mopsy, and cousin Benjamin, pelt the guy with the fruit, causing him to collapse and nearly die.
This is a kid’s movie.
And because it’s a kid’s movie, many parents are upset at Peter Rabbit for joking about a medical condition that, according to Kids With Food Allergies, affects one in 13 children. The organization wrote the following on Facebook:
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. 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. (Via)
There’s even been talk of a boycott on Twitter.
In a statement released Sunday, Sony Pictures and the filmmakers, including director Will Gluck, apologized for making “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.” Meanwhile, Paddington is eating his marmalade in peace.
(Via the New York Times)