This isn’t 1950 anymore where you can tell your child to ‘buck up’ when it comes to bullies. The bullying epidemic has reached untold proportions with an estimated 13 million children tormented annually by their peers. Now, director Lee Hirsh’s new film Bully is trying to combat bullying among children, but feels that the Motion Picture Association of America’s rating of an R prevents those who need to see the film most from viewing it.
Bully follows five children, and their families, bullied throughout the school year received the R rating due to the inclusion of six expletives. Weinstein Co., who produced the documentary, tried to appeal the decision and lower the rating to PG-13. The debate rages over whether or not Bully should be granted exemption from the MPAA’s guidelines due to the potential benefit of its subject matter. Currently, the filmmakers can either bleep or edit out the offending dialogue to receive the desired rating, but Hirsch claims that doing so would damage the artistic integrity of the film.
Because the MPAA denied Weinstein’s appeal, the bullied are taking it upon themselves to get the ratings board to act. Katy Butler, at 17-year old activist from Ann Arbor, MI, spearheaded an online petition on change.org that has already gained well over 200,000 signatures in a little over a week. Butler, who was bullied and taunted as a 7th grader, wants the movie’s message to reach its intended audience.
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