Patt Morrison for March 9, 2012

Battle over lowering MPAA’s R rating of ‘Bully’

Signature Delivery To MPAA In Support Of "Bully"

Jesse Grant/Getty Images For MPAA

MPAA receives 200,000 signatures from bullied student, Katy Butler, urging reversal of "R" rating for "Bully" film at the offices of the Motion Picture Association of America on March 7, 2012 in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

The battle over “Bully” is heating up. The new documentary film on bullying in American schools, set for release March 30 by The Weinstein Company, got an R rating for language, but fans say a film that could help kids cope with bullies shouldn’t be off limits to those kids.

Katy Butler, a 17-year-old high school junior in Michigan who was bullied in middle school as a lesbian teen, started a petition through asking the Motion Picture Association of America to change its rating of the film to PG-13. The R rating, she said in the petition to MPAA, is “robbing many teenagers of the chance to view a film that could change their lives, and help reduce violence in schools.”

In just 10 days, Butler’s online petition collected 200,000 signatures, which she presented in five boxes to the MPAA in Los Angeles on Wednesday. More than 265,000 people have now signed the petition. The Weinstein Co. appealed the R rating, but the MPAA has declined to change it.

One too many bad words earned an R rating for The Weinstein Co.’s 2010 best picture Oscar winner “The King’s Speech,” also a movie about overcoming obstacles.

Trailer for Bully:


Should the MPAA change the rating for “Bully” to PG-13? Do ratings systems need reviewing?


John Horn, Los Angeles Times film writer

Katy Butler, a 17-year-old Michigan high school student who started a petition through for the MPAA to change the rating for “Bully” from R to PG-13.

Cynthia Lowen, producer of “Bully”

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