Mary Kate Carr
February 12, 2018 AT 10:11 AM EST

The filmmakers and studio behind the new children’s movie Peter Rabbit have issued an apology after drawing ire over a scene pertaining to a food allergy.

In the film, Peter Rabbit’s (voiced by James Corden) nemesis, Mr. McGregor, is allergic to blackberries. In an attempt to enter McGregor’s garden, Peter and friends shoot a blackberry into McGregor’s mouth, causing anaphylaxis. Parents who saw the movie were upset with the scene, saying the scenario is “bullying” of someone with a food allergy and calling for a boycott of the film.

In an email statement, Sony Pictures and the filmmakers of Peter Rabbit said, “Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s archnemesis, Mr. McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way. We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize.”

Kids with Food Allergies, a division of The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, had previously posted a note of caution on their Facebook page to parents taking their children to see Peter Rabbit, saying the scene “may be disturbing to young viewers who have a food allergy.”

AAFA CEO Kenneth Menendez also posted an open letter to Sony Pictures, writing, “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.”

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