By Dana Harris | Indiewire February 21, 2012 at 2:22PM
Fighting the MPAA is nothing new for Harvey Weinstein, but this time the subject of his ratings wrath is not the NC-17, but an R -- and for a documentary, not a feature.
Full release follows:
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY TO APPEAL MPAA RATING OF BULLY
TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein And One Of Film’s Bullied Subjects Will Personally Appeal MPAA’s Decision To Give Anti-Bullying Documentary An “R” Rating
Restricted Rating Will Keep Film Out Of Schools Where America’s Bullying Epidemic Rages
New York, NY, February 21, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today plans to appeal the MPAA’s decision to assign an “R” rating to its forthcoming documentary BULLY, an urgent and intimate look at America’s bullying crisis by award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch. The “R” rating was made on the basis of “some language,” and restricts children under 17 from seeing the film unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. As a result, BULLY could not be screened in U.S. middle and high schools, where it might otherwise reach a mass national audience of students and be used as a tool to stop an epidemic of physical, psychological and emotional violence. BULLY is scheduled for release on March 30, 2012.
TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein will appeal the MPAA rating, and will be joined by Alex Libby, one of the bullied children whose experiences are documented in BULLY. The hearing will be held at the MPAA's Sherman Oaks screening room on February 23rd with Motion Picture Consulting LLC's Ethan Noble assisting The Weinstein Company.
Discussing the pending appeal, BULLY director Lee Hirsch said, “I made BULLY for kids to see – the bullies as well as the bullied. We have to change hearts and minds in order to stop this epidemic, which has scarred countless lives and driven many children to suicide. To capture the stark reality of bullying, we had to capture the way kids act and speak in their everyday lives – and the fact is that kids use profanity. It is heartbreaking that the MPAA, in adhering to a strict limit on certain words, would end up keeping this film from those who need to see it most. No one could make this case more powerfully than Alex Libby, and I am so proud and honored that he is stepping forward to make a personal appeal.”
Said Weinstein, “I have great respect for the work Chairman Joan Graves and the rest of the MPAA governing body do. I have been compelled by the filmmakers and the children to fight for an exception so we can change this R rating brought on by some bad language. As a father of four, I worry every day about bullying; it’s a serious and ever-present concern for me and my family. I want every child, parent, and educator in America to see BULLY, so it is imperative for us to gain a PG-13 rating. It’s better that children see bad language than bad behavior, so my wish is that the MPAA considers the importance of this matter as we make this appeal.”