SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The new movie “Peter Rabbit,” is under fire for using a life-threatening disability as a punchline.
The filmmakers and the studio are apologizing for making light of food allergies and parents are speaking out.
Parents across the county are calling for a boycott of Sony’s new film adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic. The hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit is gaining traction and some allergists are concerned.
It's estimated that food allergies affect one in 13 kids.
"My son has a shellfish allergy and he also has asthma so that can be deadly, said Angela Cuthbert, a Lompoc mother.
Two of Cuthbert's children are part of that statistic and she's had a couple close calls.
"In Santa Maria I noticed one hive and by the time we got back to Lompoc he was covered and swelling so it’s scary and it can panic a mother, of course," said Cuthbert.
The Lompoc mother says all to often, the community tries to discredit the danger of food allergies.
"It hurts me as a mom because it can make kids have to be separate at school," said Cuthbert.
While Cuthbert hasn't seen Sony's new "Peter Rabbit" movie, she can see why there's controversy surrounding the film.
"Because it could make people take it less seriously and with instances like my son and other kids, you have serious allergies they could have a deadly anaphylactic reaction," said Cuthbert.
The scene raising eyebrows shows Peter Rabbit and his forest friends attacking their archnemesis Mr. McGregor by pelting him with blackberries because they knew he was allergic. Mr. McGregor starts choking, goes into anaphylactic shock and has to use an EpiPen.
Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Specialist Dr. Vincent Tubiolo says six percent of the population may have some form of food allergy and he sees people every day for the issue.
“That is a problem in the schools, there still are people who use that as a way to frighten other kids and it can be dangerous,” said Dr. Tubiolo. Dr. Tubiolo says the scene in question sounds like food allergy bullying.
Dr. Tubiolo plans to see the latest adaption of Beatrix Potter's classic and hopes if anything, this raises awareness.
"The problem is serious, people can die from food allergic reactions," said Dr. Tubiolo.
Sony Pictures and the filmmakers released a statement saying, “We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize.”