Ask Sony to protect kids: Peter Rabbit screen warning

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As you may have heard, the new Sony Pictures Peter Rabbit film features Peter and his fluffy friends raiding the veggie garden of grouchy old Mr MacGregor.  How does this band of cheerful, plucky rabbits defeat this cranky man and avoid his traps, I hear you ask? By banding together to build a clever decoy?  By digging stealthy tunnels and swiping his carrots in the night? By winning him over with their adorable antics? No. This film shows the band of heroes attacking the man with the food he is deathly allergic to until he collapses in full anaphylactic shock.  The rabbits are delighted and the film ends.

I am concerned that children watching the film, which has only a PG rating, will absorb the message that it is okay to nearly kill a person using their allergies as a weapon.  That food fights are okay. That it’s all, really, just a bit of fun.

This is not a bit of fun.  My child is one of thousands of children across the country who suffer from life threatening allergies that are found within the lunchboxes of his friends.  If a food fight breaks out at our local park, a fragment of food hitting his mouth could induce anaphylaxis and kill him.  And though he, and others like him, carries an adrenalin autoinjector (Epipen) to be used in an emergency, it may not save him. Did you know that in 2010, a 13 year old school student died after a mouthful of allergen despite being given at least 4 epipens, plus ambulance treatment?  Any incident can escalate into a fatal incident.

Peak bodies representing allergy patient organisations across the world have written a joint letter to Sony Pictures, requesting that the film be withdrawn, edited, or, at the very least, a warning screened prior to the film.  To their shame, however, they have done no more than release a public apology, and the film is due to be released in a few short weeks to tens of thousands of naive Australian school children out on their Easter holidays.

Ask Sony Pictures to create a warning to be screened at the start of their film, stating that food allergies are life threatening and that the actions of characters depicted in the film should not be copied in real life.  It is a small thing to ask, but could make the biggest difference to a child with life threatening allergies.