Peter Rabbit in hot water over claims of 'allergy bullying'

Globalaai Peter Rabbit petition poster

A scene in the film where the villain gets his comeuppance by being pelted with a food he's allergic to has made people angry.

The makers of the new film Peter Rabbit have apologised after being accused of insensitively depicting a character's allergy.

The controversial scene is in a film adaptation of Peter Rabbit, the much-loved Beatrix Potter character, which was released in U.S. cinemas at the weekend.

In it, the character Tom McGregor, who has an allergy to blackberries, 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 - a special injection which helps people with allergies deal with a bad reaction.

A petition calling on Sony Pictures to apologise has attracted more than 4,000 supporters after the Global Anaphylaxis Awareness and Inclusivity group (Globalaai) said the film "mocks the seriousness of allergic disease and is heartbreakingly disrespectful to the families of those that have lost loved ones to anaphylaxis".

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"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".

The Kids With Food Allergies Foundation (KFA) said in a statement: "The new movie, Peter Rabbit, has a scene that may be disturbing to young viewers who have a food allergy".

Filming took place in Ambleside and Windermere in April a year ago, with Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne and Sam Neill appearing alongside the voice talents of Daisy Ridley and Margot Robbie.

"We will be communicating with the production company about the film's withdrawal". It hits United Kingdom screens on March 16.

"Peter Rabbit" has not been a hit with critics. Peter would appear in five other of Potter's works written between 1904 and 1912.

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