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by Peter Knegt
April 5, 2012 6:44 PM
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MPAA Grants PG-13 To "Bully" Without Cut of Crucial Scene

Lee Hirsch's "Bully."

After weeks of controversy surrounding its initial decision, the MPAA has lowered the rating for Lee Hirsch's doc "Bully" from an "R" to a "PG-13," The Weinstein Company has announced. 

The decision came after three uses of the "f-word" were removed from the film. However, the scene that has been at the forefront of the battle with the MPAA -- the one that shows teen Alex Libby being bullied and harassed on a bus -- has been left fully intact and unedited.

The MPAA is also allowing the film to be released with the new rating before 90 days, which is the length of time their policy states a film must wait to be in theaters after a rating change "to avoid confusion or inconvenience for moviegoers." Thus, "Bully" will expand to 55 markets on April 13th with its new rating. It had opened this past weekend in New York and Los Angeles without a MPAA rating attached to it.

The new rating also grants the schools, organizations and cities the opportunity to share the film as an educational tool.

“I feel completely vindicated with this resolution,” said Hirsch in a statement. “While I retain my belief that PG-13 has always been the appropriate rating for this film, as reinforced by Canada's rating of a PG, we have today scored a victory from the MPAA. The support and guidance we have received throughout this process has been incredible, from the more than half a million people who signed Katy Butler's petition, to members of Congress, Governor Mike Huckabee and the many celebrities and others who raised their voices to express deeply felt support for a film that can inspire millions. The scene that mattered remains untouched and intact, which is a true sign that we have won this battle. With an array of great partners, a fabulous educator's guide and extensive online tools, we can now bring this film unhindered, to youth and adults across our country.”

TAGS: Bully


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  • April Wolff | April 6, 2012 3:10 PMReply

    I can hear the F and S words in the afternoon on premium cable but not regular cable or broadcast TV. That's annoying. Do the rich take better care of their kids? Under Citizens United, any corporation is guaranteed free speech. Why not for the Colbert Report or PBS? That should be a law suit for the ACLU, since they supported CU. Member of the "supreme" court said PBS and broadcast TV were on their way out. So why change the rules? Arrogant sloth! Bill Moyers pointed out when CU was passed, that corporations don't die, therefor they're not people and shouldn't have the rights of people. Of course, corporations do are extinguished as was Lehman Bros. But do they feel pain? The entities, not the people who work for them? The whole thing gives me a pain the caboose. America is so weird now, a combo platter of hedonism and puritanism. Where's Lenny Bruce when we need him?

  • Brad | April 5, 2012 11:48 PMReply

    MPAA was the bully in this case

  • Stella | April 5, 2012 11:19 PMReply

    I do hope that this movie addresses the fact that young people are bullied for more than just sexual preference. So much attention has been placed on that area of bullying, but not on other areas. I was tormented in school as a racially mixed child for not being "black enough" and acting "white"...even adults joined in on this type of bullying! I remember a lady at church used to call me a "halfbreed" all the time, as if I were an animal. I hope this movie shows that all young people can be the victim of bullying, not just those who are GLBT.

  • Mark Waklick | April 5, 2012 10:21 PMReply

    As a filmmaker you should know what NOBODY is telling you, that.....there was a lawsuit against Sundance, ( fraud and theft of submission fees) They don't watch the films, ( 12,000 films , 6 head programmers) the judge ruled they don't have to. That indiewire and Filmmaker magazine refuse to report this news, because they receive money from Sundance.
    That 7000 film festivals in the U.S. are operating fraudulent business's that are all connected to "without a box" which LEGALLY steals all filmmakers rights, once you have submitted to these film festivals.
    Filmmakers films are selling on Amazon, which they never legally allowed them to sell.
    If you believe in Sundance and that they are in fact interested in "discovering indy films" you had better awaken out of your bubble. Kevin Smiths film is already chosen for Sundance 2013, as are many other films, they have already been chosen. Sundance doesn't watch the films, they steal filmmakers money AND they award their own films! Another Earth, and Beasts of the Southern Wild, are both Sundance films, that won awards AND money!

    For more information about this fraud go to

  • Migilicuty11 | April 5, 2012 8:31 PMReply

    YES!!! The public has bullied the MPAA!! Joking...

    I'm glad they have lowered the rating but the didn't really "beat" the MPAA if they removed 3 uses of the "F" word. They still bowed to censorship in the end...

    I am eager to see the film regardless of the rating, I've been allowed in for a long time

  • amazing | April 5, 2012 8:26 PMReply

    about time, its amazing to see a movie that's this raw is comig out, however keep the f word in i mean honestly everyone in every grade uses it what's the big deal if its in the movie. this is in everyday speech.

  • JohnB | April 5, 2012 10:19 PM

    We should not want everyone in every grade using the f word.

  • Kane | April 5, 2012 7:55 PMReply

    Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the people who want kids to see this film to educate them on bullying are the same people that have been bullying the MPAA to lower the rating?

  • Lara | April 5, 2012 9:08 PM

    Kane, there is a difference between a defenseless child being physically, psychologically and individually antagonized by others for no reason and peacefully lobbying an organization for a good cause. The term "bullying" applies in one situation, but not in the other. To suggest otherwise belittles the very real and personal trauma that Alex Libby has suffered.

  • ReelHeART | April 5, 2012 7:21 PMReply

    Finally! Now the kids who should see the film #BULLY will hopefully see this important study and think twice about their actions. Were you bullied when you were in school...?

  • benji | April 5, 2012 10:27 PM

    Yeah, I was bullied a few times in kindergarden. People kept calling me a bully so I bullied them right back. Right back to hell.

    Seriously, though. Have I ever been bullied in school? No. I pretty much did all the bullying and all the other bullies got the message. My teacher tried to bully me once but he learned real good that he was doing it all wrong. I showed him what bulling was all about. Same thing with the UPS guy and my neighbors cat. Both big bullies.

    There are simply too many bullies in the world right now. The world only really needs one when you think about it. And that bully for me right now is Obama. Now, this guy really knows how to bully people around. I say, let's go stop him right now!!!