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Peter Rabbit, 'allergy bullying' and a history of unusual movie backlashes

Liam Neeson in The Grey, Peter Rabbit and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale: films that spurred a serious backlash.
Liam Neeson in The Grey, Peter Rabbit and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale: films that spurred a serious backlash. Composite: Alamy/REX/United Artists

Of all the unpleasant things about the Peter Rabbit film – the twerking, the making it rain, the presence of James Corden – nobody could have foreseen the worst being a blackberry. A scene in which a blackberry is catapulted into mouth of a blackberry-allergic character has managed to derail the entire project. The scene is thoughtless, cruel, imitable – and has led to calls for a boycott.

Obviously, though, Peter Rabbit isn’t the only film to have absent-mindedly wandered into the realms of innocuous outrage. With just one blackberry, the film has managed to join these hallowed ranks.

Dunkirk

Dunkirk

The evacuation of Dunkirk was a landmark moment in British history. Not quite a victory, not quite a defeat, and requiring a small army of civic-minded civilian do-gooders, it managed to rubber-stamp the national identity like little else before. However, Chinese audiences didn’t quite see it like that. State-owned newspaper the Global Times noted that, to Chinese audiences, the elevation of an evacuation was unpatriotic. On its release, Dunkirk was unfavourably comparing it to the film Wolf Warrior 2, which ended with the hyper-patriotic message: “The citizens of the People’s Republic of China: When you encounter danger overseas, do not give up! Please remember, right behind you, there is a powerful motherland!”’ As a result, some Chinese audiences called for a Dunkirk boycott.

The Grey

The Grey

The Grey is the best film Liam Neeson made during his extended action period; a haunting, wounded meditation on bereavement that sticks with you long after the credits roll. But there are also wolves in it, which caused no end of outrage among wolf-lovers everywhere. “The Grey has the potential to act as a $35m propaganda campaign against wolves,” claimed website Care2, adding: “Give this one a pass, and tell your friends to avoid it as well.” The piece prompted a petition that was signed 11,000 times; each signature a damning dismissal of that scene where Neeson tapes some bottles to his fists and punches a wolf in the face.

Casino Royale

Casino Royale

It’s hard to remember, especially now Skyfall is one of the 20 biggest films of all time, that people hated Daniel Craig when he was unveiled as the new James Bond back in 2005. They hated that he wore life vests on boats. They hated that he didn’t really like guns. But, most of all, they hated his stupid blond hair. Some fans hated his hair so much that they created an entire website to call for a boycott of Casino Royale. Better yet, the website is still maintained to this day, largely to publish images of Craig’s head Photoshopped on to women’s bodies.

All Meryl Streep films

The Devil Wears Prada

During last year’s Golden Globes, Meryl Streep used a speech to indirectly condemn Donald Trump’s presidency. As a result, Conservativebookclub ran a poll to ask its users if they were planning to boycott all her films forever. Over 90% of participants said that they would, with commenters proclaiming “Yes, I will boycott all her movies and destroy the DVDs I have of some of her movies” and “GET A JOB!!!!! rather than BEING IN BED WITH UGLY CREEPS JUST TO RECEIVE AWARDS AND ROLES !!!!!!!”.

The Soloist

The Soloist

This one takes some explaining. In 2009, 16-year-old Miley Cyrus attempted to meet Radiohead backstage at the Grammies. When Radiohead refused, Miley was outraged. She went on a radio show and said of the band: “I’m gonna ruin them.” When Jamie Foxx heard her say this, he was outraged. On his own radio show, Foxx called Miley a “little white bitch” who should “make a sex tape”, “start seeing a lesbian”, “catch chlamydia on a bicycle seat” and “do some heroin”. When Miley Cyrus fans heard this, they were outraged. They called for a boycott of his new film The Soloist, and that is why it did badly. Not because it’s a terrible film, but because Miley Cyrus fans were outraged.

This article titled "Peter Rabbit, 'allergy bullying' and a history of unusual movie backlashes" was written by Stuart Heritage, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 13 February 2018 04.27pm

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