The Garnet Mine

“Peter Rabbit” Boycott

New Family Film Stirs Lots of Controversy

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Miles Goldman and Hall Luthringer

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On February 9, 2018, the beloved title character from Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit stories made his big screen debut. While Peter Rabbit opened up to relatively mixed reviews, obtaining a 58% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it ended up accumulating $25 million its opening weekend.

The cover of Beatrix Potter’s original tale, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”

While the film started to build momentum these past couple of days, it suddenly has become the center of attention, with a particular scene producing negative reactions from audiences.

One scene in the movie shows the rabbit, Peter, and his forest friends attack their enemy, Mr. McGregor, by throwing blackberries at him. In the film, the character of Mr. McGregor is allergic to blackberries, so he starts choking, ultimately having to inject himself with an EpiPen.

The children’s book which the movie is based on, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” does not include the scene.

The group, Kid with Food Allergies, a subdivision of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, took to Facebook to warn moviegoers about the scene, stating that the scene pokes fun at anaphylaxis- a life threatening allergic reaction. AAFA president and CEO Kenneth Mendez sent an open letter to Sony Pictures Entertainment and Animal Logic, the independent digital studio that partnered on the film.

The rabbit himself, Peter, lying in carrots

Mendez 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.”

The “insensitive” scene has caused parents across the country to condemn the movie and express their concerns on Twitter with the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

Additionally, concerned parents have launched a Change.org petition demanding an apology from Sony Pictures. As of Monday February 12, the petition has garnered over 11,000 signatures.

A few days later, the filmmakers and Sony Pictures apologized stating, “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.”

James Corden, who is the voice of Peter Rabbit

Senior Dom Vitiello stated “Peter Rabbit was a great flick. I couldn’t hold in my smile the whole time. I recommend this movie regardless of the controversy.”

Senior Davis Ross said, “I wasn’t planning on seeing Peter Rabbit but ever since the controversy I’ve been more intrigued to watch it.”

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