Sony Pictures apologized over the weekend for a scene in its latest film "Peter Rabbit" that drew ire from moviegoers.
According to BBC, the filmmakers apologized for a scene in which a gang of bunnies throws blackberries at a character who suffers from a blackberry allergy.
The film, which shows animals fighting back against the human character Tom McGregor for their vegetable patch, shows the animals pelting Tom with blackberries. However, Tom is allergic to the fruit. He swallows one of the berries, falls to the ground, turns red and barely survives after injecting himself with an EpiPen, according to Forbes.
Campaigners and critics condemned the film for making fun of an illness. The Kids With Food Allergies Foundation said in a Facebook Post that the film's "food allergy 'jokes' are harmful to our community."
"The very real fear and anxiety that people experience during an allergic reaction (often referred to as an impending sense of doom) is a serious matter," the post said. "Making light of this condition hurts our members because it encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously, and this cavalier attitude may make them act in ways that could put an allergic person in danger."
Campaigners organized a petition that called for Sony to apologize.Similarly, a hashtag sprung up that asked fans to #BoycottPeterRabbit.
Sony said in a statement on Sunday that it was wrong to include the joking scene, calling it "cartoonish."
"We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize," the statement said.
Despite the criticism, the film still raked in $25 million over the weekend, according to The New York Times. The film proved successful despite low expectations because it was the only family-friendly film available.
"Peter Rabbit" finished behind the latest Fifty Shades of Gray film, which took in about $38.8 million over the weekend.