Peter Rabbit
Actor Domhnall Gleeson performs in a Peter Rabbit sketch with James Corden during "The Late Late Show with James Corden" on the CBS Television Network, Feb. 5, 2018. Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images

The makers of "Peter Rabbit" on Sunday apologized for making light of a character's allergy in the film.

In a joint statement with the filmmakers Sunday, Sony Pictures expressed regret for not being more aware and sensitive to the issue. It said "food allergies are a serious issue" and the movie "should not have made light" of it "even in a cartoonish, slapstick way," the BBC reported.

A scene in the film, released this weekend, shows a group of rabbits throwing blackberries at the character of Tom McGregor, who is allergic to the fruit. He goes into an anaphylactic shock following this, forcing him to use an EpiPen. The scene sparked furious reactions from allergy advocates, who called for a boycott of the film.

In a Facebook post Friday, the charity group Kids with Food Allergies condemned the scene and said food allergy jokes are very harmful to the community.

“During a reaction, patients require the life-saving drug epinephrine and must go to the nearest hospital for follow-up treatment. 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. 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,” it said.

Following this, some Twitter users adopted the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit. Similarly, an online petition seeking an apology from Sony Pictures attracted thousands of signatures.

In an open letter, the president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Kenneth Mendez, said the NGO was willing to educate the studio and the film's cast on the realities of food allergies and urged it to "examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience."

"We are aware that the reactions about this movie by our community are mixed. It is unnecessary for a film to show the characters intentionally attacking another with his food allergen to trigger anaphylaxis," Mendez said.

Some shared stories on social media about people who had to go through severe anxiety or even post-traumatic stress disorder following their experiences with anaphylaxis. An open letter to the studio talked about recent incidents wherein children died after being bullied with their allergens at school.

In June 2017, a 13-year-old boy, who was allergic to dairy products, died after bullies flicked cheese in his mouth in London. Police later arrested a fellow student on suspicion of attempted murder, the Sun reported.

The movie "Peter Rabbit" was marred with controversy well before the allergy issue. Last year, its trailer invited criticism from many for its violent scenes.

“At least based on its trailer, the "Peter Rabbit" film appears to have been aggressively engineered to make people sad,” a reviewer said then.

The movie, directed by Will Gluck, earned $25 million in its first weekend in the United States.