Let’s begin with a confession. I haven’t seen the new Peter Rabbit movie. But since this isn’t intended to be a film review, hopefully I’ll get a pass on that. The issue before us isn’t whether the movie is actually any good, but rather the response it’s getting from the peanut gallery of the “everything is an outrage” crowd.
You see, this seemingly harmless tale of animated bunnies has committed a serious sin in the eyes of the social justice crowd. They included a character (the farmer) who has allergies, specifically to berries. And the producers of the film were insensitive in their portrayal because they made a joke out of the reaction he suffers when the rabbits pelt him with fruit. No… I’m not even kidding. (WaPo)
Critics have found a number of ways to describe Sony Pictures’ new adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s mischievous yet beloved bunny, “Peter Rabbit.” The modern Peter Rabbit is a frat bro, a “raging narcissist,” a vandal who escalates a feud into a “truly sadistic display of violence.”
Now, the bunny character has been billed as something else — a food allergy bully.
That’s because in one scene, Peter and his bunny friends gang up on their nemesis, Mr. McGregor, by pelting him with blackberries, even though he is allergic to them. When one berry lands in his mouth, he begins to choke before injecting himself with an EpiPen.
The scene prompted backlash from allergy advocacy groups and parents of children with food allergies, who said it mocked an attack that in real life could have proved fatal. The segment led to a hashtag — #boycottpeterrabbit — and an online petition demanding an apology.
In a more sane world, the truly amazing part of this story is that Sony actually turned around and apologized immediately. They included contrite statements about how food allergies are a serious issue and that the movie should not have made light of it. Of course, this is no longer amazing or even mildly startling. Social media campaigns, with their ability to go viral almost instantly, have created a dangerous terrain for anyone producing entertainment, food or, well… practically anything. Offending the politically correct crowd can sink you, so Sony bent a knee.
But just how crazy was the initial accusation? Ben Shapiro summed it up nicely at the Daily Wire.
This is insanity. If we have to worry about every depiction of dangerous activity by heroic characters in cartoons, we’re going to have to scrub every episode of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. It’ll be amazing when groups of victims of explosions say that cartoons should avoid using dynamite in depictions of Yosemite Sam, or when victims of anvil accidents claim that Warner Brothers must do away with Acme Anvil Company, the focus of evil in the modern world.
Really, folks. It’s a cartoon. Nobody is “allergy shaming” anyone and kids these days are already smart enough to know they could kill someone with peanuts or any other food item toxic to the allergy-plagued. This isn’t going to start some cascading deluge of attacks on allergy sufferers around the nation.
But hey… what do I know? Everyone is apologizing for everything these days. Just this week the Boston Police had to apologize for honoring a white guy during Black History Month. And no… I didn’t make that one up either.
Anyway, since I haven’t seen the movie perhaps you haven’t either. Here’s the trailer in case you’re considering giving it a look.