The Weinstein Company will be releasing Lee Hirsch's documentary "Bully" this year, and were hoping to screen the film in schools nationwide. However, by a one-vote margin, the MPAA gave the film an R-rating for "some language."
Weinstein has successfully fought the MPAA before. This time, he appealed in person and brought along one of the bullying victims featured prominently in "Bully." When the film was screened for a high school audience in Los Angeles, students called the film's language mild.
The MPAA has thus far decided to stick by their original rating for the film, which includes no explicit sex or bloody violence. It turns out the MPAA believes that kids can use foul language in front of a camera, but they shouldn't be allowed to hear themselves on screen. And because of the rating, the film can't be screened in high schools, where Weinstein believes it will do some good for both bullies and their victims.
Fortunately for The Weinsten Company and the film's potential audience, Michigan high school student and bullying victim Katy Butler has taken matters into her own hands. Her web petition in favor of a PG-13 rating for "Bully" was begun just two days ago and is starting to accumulate 500 signees every minute. At its current rate, the petition will meet its goal of 150,000 signees today.
Here are some basic facts about bullying in America: Every 7 minutes a child is bullied on school grounds, adults intervene 4% of the time, peers intervene 11% of the time, but 85% of the time there is no intervention. 18 million children are bullied each year – that is 1 out of 4 teens. 9 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment at school and online.
Mark Anthony at Change.org told Indiewire, "It has been incredible to see Katy Butler’s petition to the MPAA take off. Katy’s powerful story and the kids in this compelling film have already inspired tens of thousands of supporters to speak out. It’s only a matter of time before the MPAA responds. Change.org allows anyone, anywhere to start and win campaigns on issues that are important to them, and Katy's campaign is a great example of what people-powered campaigns are capable of."
Support the petition today! Here is the trailer for Lee Hirsch's "Bully."