Peter Rabbit movie faces allergy backlash

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The studio and filmmakers say that they, "Sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize".

In an email statement, Sony Pictures and the filmmakers of Peter Rabbit said, "Food allergies are a serious issue".

The film which stars James Corden in the title role, landed in U.S. cinemas last weekend.

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McGregor is allergic to blackberries, and the animals use a slingshot to shoot one into his mouth.

People also expressed their views of the scene on Twitter, using the hashtag #BoycottPeterRabbit.

Allergy UK called for the film to be withdrawn, citing the depiction of bullying that had "deeply concerned and upset" the allergic community. During a reaction, patients require the life-saving drug epinephrine and must go to the nearest hospital for follow-up treatment.

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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".

According to the Associated Press, Asthma and Allergy Foundation president and CEO Kenneth Mendez wrote an open letter to Sony Pictures asking for the opportunity to educate the company and movie's cast, urging the studio to "examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience". "It is unnecessary for a film to show the characters intentionally attacking another with his food allergen to trigger anaphylaxis", it continued. The post, which was shared on Saturday, February 10 and addressed to the makers of the movie, began, "We are aware that the reactions about this movie by our community are mixed".

In a scene from the film, Tom McGregor - played by Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson - has blueberries pelted at him by a gang of bunnies - including Peter Rabbit - despite suffering a blueberry allergy.

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Supporters argue the scene is "heartbreakingly disrespectful" to families who have lost loved ones to anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction causing death. They are calling for the scene to be withdrawn from the film, which is set to air in the United Kingdom in March 2018.

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