To Boycott or Not to Boycott Peter Rabbit?

We all remember that cheeky little rabbit in a blue coat. We had the whole collection which we read when I was growing up. The mischievous antics of the young Peter Rabbit. This new movie adaptation of the Beatrix Potter classic, however, has the world in uproar.

On the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes, usually a good reference of actual peoples views I find, has given it only 51%. Rather than the rascal rabbit we know and love, critics say in this movie, he is being portrayed as a violent and psychopathic jerk. Could this be true? Well I’m not sure, I haven’t seen the movie yet. But this is only part of the controversy.

What’s All The Fuss About?

Well, it comes down to allergies. One of the scenes in the movie showPeter Rabbit deliberately throwing blackberries at McGregor with the knowledge that he is severely allergic to them. The next scene is said to be of McGregor stabbing himself in the leg with his epinephrine. The uproar has come over the lack of remorse and lessons learned by the young rabbit and so many believe it shows this type of bullying to be ok.

Peter Rabbit outrage from allergy campaigns

Allergy awareness and campaign groups in the states have called for a boycott of the movie in protest. The question now is, do we still go? Or do we boycott?

The movie company has issued an apology for their lack of sensitivity to this topic, but it doesn’t seem to have appeased the many allergy parents out there.

The Two Sides

Last night I posted a link and short message on the Eat Allergy Safe facebook page and the comments were torn. One side included those who were completely against going to the movie and those who would wait and see to pass judgement but would prepare their allergic children for what they might see.

I fall into the second bracket. I’m going to wait and see. We all know the news like to sensationalise stuff, but I prefer not to be sensationalised. I want to watch it and make up my own mind. After the bad reviews, unrelated to allergies as well, it might just come down to a badly written movie all round.

Things To Think About

As this scene has caused concern, I wanted to offer a few things to think about if you’re still deciding whether to see the movie. Or if you’ve seen it and now upset by it. I find that it’s all about how can we use a situation to our advantage and promote allergy awareness.

First up, when do we ever get allergies so front and centre in the news?! I have fellow allergy bloggers who are working overtime to use this opportunity to present the allergy community on national television and radio channels to give the facts of having and living with a life threatening allergy. That is a win!

Second, the movie is depicting what is unfortunately actually happening in some classrooms. It is unfortunate that Peter Rabbit is depicted as the bully, but it does throw a light on the fact that allergy bullying is happening, and it is not funny. Deliberately forcing an allergen in as person is like going at someone with a knife. Having this in a movie that is going to be seen globally opens up the chance to talk about this issue and start changing it! But we have to know what we are up against and then take the emotion out of how we respond so that we can actually get people to listen.

Third, the world is not an allergen free place. It never will be. As much as people petition to ban this that and the other from anywhere and everywhere. It doesn’t solve the problem. Ignorant people will continue to be ignorant people until they agree to be educated. It is our job as allergy sufferers to own our allergy and SHOW the world how we live safely, carefully and happily. Our allergy is our responsibility so we need to act like it.

A Plea to Allergy Parents

If you are an allergy parent and reading this, I urge you to use these types of opportunities to teach your children how to start facing and conquering their allergy challenges rather than hiding them. Your children might be young but these challenges will be the same their whole life, they don’t change. Your child’s friends will also ask about the film to their allergic friend, so better to prepare them to answer the questions confidently. Why not get their friends involved in the allergy education.

By the way, people still say the same things from being a kid with a nut allergy to an adult who still has one…I’ve heard it all and now I’m barely ever surprised or bothered. This is because my parents never hid the darker (anaphylaxis can lead to death) part from me, they just kept educating and encouraged my taking responsibility for my allergy. [link to podcast episodes with mum and dad]

What Will You Decide?

The Peter Rabbit movie has just been released in the USA and we in the UK have to wait until March to find out what the actually is going on. For me, I will be going to see the movie and make up my own mind, and the above post lays out my mindset before I’m going in. I want to make a silver-lining and I am going to watch it with an open mind. I don’t know what I’ll find until I watch it.

If you’re still deciding whether to boycott the movie or not, just remember it is your decision. Make the decision you feel is right for you and don’t let yourself be pressured by anyone to watch or not watch the movie. It’s your money and time so use it how you like.

If you have questions or comments, I’d love for you to join the discussion. What are your thoughts on the Peter Rabbit movie and depiction allergy bullying in the media? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.