As if being plagued with James Corden's voice isn't bad enough, the film Peter Rabbit now has a food allergy-related controversy to deal with.

The film's writers, producers, and director Will Gluck have apologized for making "light" of allergies after receiving criticism for involving a character’s blackberry allergy. Spoilers ahead if you consider a movie like Peter Rabbit spoilable, but the scene in question sees rabbits intentionally slingshotting a human character with blackberries. Eventually, this results in the character being forced to use an EpiPen.

"We would welcome the opportunity to educate your company and the cast of the movie about the realities of food allergy so that they and your viewing audience can better understand and recognize the gravity of the disease," Kenneth Mendez, CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, said in an open letter over the weekend. "We would like to work together to promote positive attitudes and safe environments for those with disabilities such as food allergies. We encourage you to examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience. We strongly urge you to refrain from the type of programming that mocks food allergies in the future."

Mendez also accused Sony Pictures of having a history of treating allergies "as a punchline." He cited Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and The Smurfs as other recent examples.


In a joint statement to the New York Times Monday, Sony Pictures and filmmakers apologized for the blackberry sequence. "Food allergies are a serious issue," they said. "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."

Even with this, and the aforementioned Corden concern, the animated befuddlement is set to come out of the weekend with an estimated $25 million at the box office.