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Weinstein Rejects the R Rating: ‘Bully’ Will Go Out Unrated

Weinstein Rejects the R Rating: 'Bully' Will Go Out Unrated

The Weinstein Company has rejected the MPAA’s R rating, announcing that it will release “Bully” unrated on March 30. 

TWC announced its intention to fight the MPAA rating on February 21. Since then, the movement has seen support from celebrities including Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp as well as an online petition created by a bullying victim.

The Weinstein battle also generated some additional controversy from a former Miramax employee, who was inspired to write an open letter to Harvey Weinstein asking if it was possible for him to stop his own bullying. (TWC responded with its own letter.) 

Here’s the release; we’re reaching out to the MPAA and to TWC for further comment. 

After a recent plea to the MPAA by BULLY teen Alex Libby and The Weinstein Company (TWC) Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein failed – by one vote – to get the film its deserved PG-13 rating, TWC is choosing to move forward with releasing the film unrated by the MPAA on March 30.

Furthering proof that the R rating for some language is inappropriate for a film that’s meant to educate and help parents, teachers, school officials and children with what’s become an epidemic in schools around the country, the fight against the rating continues on. The outpour of support by politicians, schools, parents, celebrities and activists for the film’s mission to be seen by those it was made for – children – has been overwhelming. Nearly half a million people have signed Michigan high school student and former bullying victim Katy Butler’s petition on to urge the MPAA to lower the rating.

Said BULLY Director Lee Hirsch, “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there because it’s real. It’s what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days. All of our supporters see that, and we’re grateful for the support we’ve received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it’s up to the theaters to let them in.”

“The kids and families in this film are true heroes, and we believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what’s right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise become bullies themselves. We’re working to do everything we can to make this film available to as many parents, teachers and students across the country,” said TWC President of Marketing Stephen Bruno.

For parents or teachers who are looking for more information or who may have concerns about showing children a movie unrated by the MPAA, please read Common Sense Media’s rating details of the film here:

“While it’s often heartbreaking and deals with tough issues like suicide, the movie addresses bullying in a frank and relatable way that is age appropriate for teens and relevant for middle schoolers if an adult is present to guide the discussion,” said James P. Steyer, Founder and CEO, Common Sense Media. “The MPAA’s ratings system is inadequate when it comes looking at a movie’s content through the lens of its larger thematic issues. Common Sense Media provides alternative ratings for parents who are looking for more guidance and context than the MPAA provides.”

BULLY will be released in theaters on Friday, March 30th in New York at the Angelika Film Center and AMC Lincoln Square and in Los Angeles at The Landmark, ArcLight Hollywood and AMC Century City.

BULLY is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.

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I wish this film could be sent directly to every Middle & High School in the country with a pre-printed parent permission form the schools could copy and send home with students. The audience that needs to see this film are many school administrators, counselors, teachers as well as the students. Many school's Anti Bullying programs are inadequate.
This way most of the 'bullies' would be watching the movie in the same room with their victims and hopefully there would be school counselors that could hold discussions after the movie when it's still fresh in the students minds.
Who knows… maybe some of our school leaders would learn something new, along with the students.
This is an important film that can and should affect change in our country. Sadly because it may only be shown in Movie Theaters, many that NEED to see this will choose to not go.


You should also see the documentary "This Film is Not Yet Rated," a 2006 film about corruption in the MPAA.


Interesting comment from Weinsteins former employee that he is a bully himself. Maybe this may lead him to change his ways and not bully people in the workplace? This can be just as traumatic!

Sharon Martin

How do we get this in our area? Not only the big cities need to see this. PLEASE

Aww come on

Way to bully that kid further by captioning his name wrong.


How can a movie in which teens slaughter each other get a PG-13, but one with some choice language (which can be defined by the ear of the beholder) get an R? It boogles the mind.

Richard Shaw

I just wanted to say thanks for the relief on the rating, we need to help as many kids as possible. This is a definite step in the right direction.

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