A rabbit attacking a gardener with blackberries while he is allergic to small black fruit. This scene from the animated film  Pierre Lapin sparked a controversy in the United States, forcing Sony Pictures studios to apologize for making a mockery of food allergies.

The evil gardener, played by Tom McGregor, is the great enemy of Pierre Lapin, a famous character created by British author Beatrix Potter and whose adventures adapted to the cinema have just been released indoors.

When a blackberry lands in his mouth, the gardener tries to administer emergency treatment, but collapses, victim of an allergic shock.

In an open letter to Sony, the Kids with Food Allergies Association said the scene encouraged “the public not to take the risks of allergic reactions seriously.”

“Spreading a message that assures children of such a dangerous attitude and motivation to target people is offensive to spectators around the world and especially to those living with severe allergies,” reads a report. petition posted on the website Change.org and signed by more than 10,000 people.

“Food allergies are a serious problem,” Sony Pictures and the film crew said in their statement on Sunday.

“Our film should not have devalued the blackberry allergy of Mr. McGregor, sworn enemy of Pierre Lapin, even zany (…) we regret sincerely not to have been better informed and sensitive on this subject and offer our sincere apologies, “continued the text.

The film Pierre Lapin , which mixes real actors and animated images, ranked second in the North American box office for its weekend release, generating $ 25 million in revenue, according to provisional figures of the specialized company Exhibitor Relations published Sunday. Its release in France is scheduled for April 4th.