"The very real fear and anxiety that people experience during an allergic reaction is a serious matter."
A big screen adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit has faced a backlash over the depiction of an allergy sufferer.
The film, which sees James Corden providing the voice of the eponymous star, features a scene where a villainous character is pelted with blackberries after a gang of bunnies learn that he is allergic to the fruit.
One character is even seeing firing the fruit into his mouth, until he eventually uses a EpiPen to treat the reaction.
Now, the moment in question has proved to be extremely divisive, with leading allergy campaigners calling for a subsequent boycott of the film.
In a Facebook post, the Kids with Allergies Foundation wrote: “The new movie, Peter Rabbit, has a scene that may be disturbing to young viewers who have a food allergy. A character is intentionally attacked with his allergen, leading to anaphylaxis and the use of epinephrine. 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.
“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.”
Others led calls on social media for a boycott of the film.
Sony Pictures has also responded to the controversy, and apologised for the “cartoonish” depiction of the condition.
The studio and filmmakers said they “sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologise”.