Disney say sorry over Peter Rabbit allergy "bullying"

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Entertainment

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

Thousands have signed a petition on social media demanding producers Sony Pictures apologise, claiming the film "mocks the seriousness of allergic disease".

The film adaptation of the Beatrix Potter book Peter Rabbit, was released in USA cinemas this weekend.

He has now also angered food safety campaigners after a scene in a new film about him shows a character being pelted with blackberries to trigger an allergic reaction. One blackberry even lands in McGregor's mouth and he has to use an EpiPen to treat his reaction.

A viewer advisory post on the Kids With Food Allergies Foundation Facebook page has garnered more than 1,100 likes and been shared almost 1,000 times. A character is intentionally attacked with his allergen, leading to anaphylaxis and the use of epinephrine.

They added: "We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologise". "To spread a message that condones such victimising and unsafe behaviour amongst children is grossly offensive to worldwide viewers especially those who live with severe allergic disease".

According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America president, Kenneth Mendez, this isn't the first time Sony Pictures Animation has used food allergies as a "punchline in the plot of a kids' movie" with The Smurfs and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs including similar scenes.

"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", the group wrote.

Groups from around the world condemned it for "making light" of food allergies.

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