In a ridiculous story I touched on here just over a week ago, even members of Congress have seen the idiocy go on long enough, and that’s really saying something. Yes, the (mostly) men you elect to run your country are sick of the MPAA‘s bullyish stance on the rating of the film Bully by Lee Hirsch, and have signed Katy Butler’s Change.org petition to change the film’s rating, in order for the people that need to see it to actually be allowed to see it.
Distributor Harvey Weinstein, and his Oscar-contenting outfit The Weinstein Company have become outspoken champions of the film, and have heavily criticized the criteria by which the MPAA rates films, especially since this film got a PG certification in Canada. Yes, parents should know there is cursing in the film, but really, is the R rating really necessary? Anti-bully activists like Ellen Degeneres and Drew Brees has spoken up for the film, but the MPAA remains steadfast in their opposition. Weinstein has threatened to pull his company (and all future films) from dealings with the ratings board, which would automatically make his movies in the same category as NC-17 films when shown in theaters, severely limiting his business at big chains.
Unbowed by pressure, Weinstein has stuck to his guns, and now, Congress is stepping in. Twenty members of congress, led by Mike Honda (D-CA), have signed the petition, and taken an active role in criticizing the MPAA.
“We are writing to express our sincere disappointment in the MPAA’s decision to issue an ‘R’ rating for the soon-to-be-released documentary Bully. This important project shows the real life anguish of many teenagers in this country who are tormented, harassed, and bullied by their peers. This truth should be shared with as wide an audience as is appropriate and possible. We believe an R-rating excludes the very audience for whom this film is desperately important.”
Weinstein and MPAA chairmain Chris Dodd c0-hosted a screening of the film in Washington, D.C. yesterday for area educators and principals, and followed with a question and answer session about the merits of the film and the issues raised in it. It seems as though The Weinstein Company has held the release of the film until they can get their ratings situation solved, we’ll keep you updated as things progress.