Monday, 12 February 2018

The Peter Rabbit Reaction

Food allergies aren't something that affect us thankfully, we are very lucky and I'm very glad about that.  Just because we don't have any allergy sufferers in the family doesn't mean that I can't be upset about the recent furor surrounding the new Peter Rabbit movie where the rabbits allegedly (I haven't seen the movie yet so I'm covering myself with "allegedly" word) fire blackberries at someone whom they know to have a serious blackberry allergy. It is said that it even leads to him having to use an Epi-pen.  Is it just me who thinks this is more than a little dark for a film depicting a talking rabbit?

I believe they are shooting it at someone from Mr McGreggors family (Peter and the gangs long term arch-rival, they consistently steal his lettuces and he wants to put them in a pie.) So ok there is no love lost between the rivaling sides but really who came up with the idea of cute, lovable rabbits purposely trying to cause death by anaphylactic shock?

The film depicts a lot of fighting on both sides, he calls them "vermin" and sets traps and they do a host of other tricks to try and win back their garden.  It isn't all these antics that bother me however as a little slapstick comedy is always fun especially for children.

Thankfully my children won't bat an eyelid at this as the concept of allergies is completely alien to them, but there are many people out there, people I know as friends and those who I know through work at Square Peg Foundation who have very real, very serious allergies.  For these people this is not funny, it's dangerous, terrifying and just wrong.

Many children at age 5 already are fully aware of what they can and can't eat and know what happens when an allergen slips through the net.  They will have vivid memories and probably fears relating to their condition and times where maybe they've had an Epi-pen administered or even gone to hospital. There will be parents who live in fear of their child not pulling through the next attack or even those who have lost children/loved ones because of allergies. 

I know to many this sounds extreme, like I'm making a mountain out of a molehill but I can assure you that if related to something deeply traumatic to you that you wouldn't think that.

If they tried to induce a seizure for a person with Epilepsy or took away a wheelchair from someone without the use of their legs in a deathly situation would it be worse?  Or is the fact that the cute, ickle bunnies shooting blackberries with their slings shots is "fun" ok?  Is it "ok" because most kids won't understand the magnitude of what's happening?

Could the bunnies then in fact do or say anything because "kids don't understand?"  Could they actually be cruel for the sake of it and not because it's fight or flight?

A part of me hopes that this has blown out of proportion but as Sony have offered an apology it seems it's very real.

"Sony Pictures on Sunday night released a statement (via The Telegraph) that it should "not have made light of Mr. McGregor being allergic to blackberries" and said it regretted not being more aware and sensitive of the issue."  Independent Online.

I will admit that I am not joining the boycott and I will most likely take my children to see it, we saw the trailer months ago and Logan loves the cartoon version.  I will however be having a conversation with them about allergies and how dangerous and scary they are. 

Information is power, maybe Sony could have informed themselves a little before spending million of pounds upsetting people.

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  1. My friends 2 sons are affected by a nut allergy, this has horrified her, with good reason. Very irresponsible of the film makers.