February 13, 2018 4:38 pm
Updated: February 13, 2018 6:09 pm

‘It’s not a joke’: Parents, allergy group furious over scene in ‘Peter Rabbit’

WATCH: A scene in the new Peter Rabbit movie shows two characters throwing blackberries at Mr. McGregor, knowing that he's allergic to them. As Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, advocates insist this sends the wrong message to children about allergies and bullying.

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Based on the book by Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit is a family friendly movie, meant to make people laugh — but there is one scene in particular that has done just the opposite.

“They literally used blackberries as a weapon and this would never be tolerated in the day-to-day, in the real world,” said Dominique Seigneur, spokesperson for Allergies Québec.

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The scene shows Peter the rabbit and his forest friends attacking Mr. McGregor by throwing blackberries at him — something the character is allergic to. McGregor then starts to choke and has to inject himself with an Epipen.

READ MORE: ‘Peter Rabbit’ facing boycott over ‘allergy bullying,’ studio and filmmakers apologize

“I understand he’s kind of the enemy of the rabbits and they’re trying to kill him off — I get that — but it’s a kids movie and I think the problem is that they can have issues of copycat acts,” said Vina Singh, mother of a five-year-old son with a tree nut allergy.

Singh says allergies aren’t something to make light of.

“The problem with the movie, I think, is that it normalizes something that’s really not a joke. It shouldn’t be something that you’re bullied for,” she said. “It’s something that should be taken more seriously than that because it’s somebody’s life that you’re playing with.”

Theresa McEwan can relate. Both of her children have nut allergies and she says food allergy bullying is real and her kids have experienced it first-hand.

READ MORE: Montreal’s French school board implements new food allergy policy

“They’ll be children who will stand next to my daughter and say, I have Nutella,” McEwan said. “It’s really unfair.”

On Sunday, Sony released a statement apologizing for the scene saying, they “should not have made light” of a character being allergic to blackberries “even in a cartoonish way.”

Meanwhile, Allergies Québec and the mothers we spoke to say they hope that this will be a learning experience and that it will bring more sensitivity to food allergy issues.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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