After numerous stories about the documentary Bully from The Weinstein Company, including Congress stepping in to the ratings fight with the MPAA, and the announcement that the MPAA wouldn’t step down, the two sides have finally come to a conclusion on the film’s final rating, and it will be a PG-13 after all.
It’s completely ridiculous that teenagers like Katy Butler had to step up and fight an organization like the MPAA, but I’m glad that public outcry has revealed them to be the bullies they actually are. Butler was the teen who started the Change.org petition to get the rating changed. Butler had this to say for everyone that supported her petition:
“I have some amazing news to share.
Last month, I saw the new documentary, Bully, which reveals the raw and honest reality behind bullying in high schools and middle schools. I cried when I watched the movie because I was horribly bullied in middle school. That’s why I was shocked to find out that other young people like me might not be able to see the movie because the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave it an “R” rating.
Outraged, I started a petition on Change.org asking the MPAA to change the rating to PG-13. After more than half a million people signed — including you! — the MPAA agreed. When Bully is released on April 13, it will be rated PG-13, and the most controversial scene in the film will remain unchanged, reflecting the reality and brutality of bullying.
This happened because people like you — 500,000 strong — came together to say that we think the issue of bullying in schools is important, and if this movie can help, then kids should be able to see it. We were even joined by people like Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Michael Jordan, Drew Brees, Justin Bieber, and 35 members of Congress. My petition was covered by almost every major TV station and newspaper in America.
When I was bullied, I felt alone. But today I feel the power of half a million people standing beside me. Thank you so much.
So there we have it. When asked if a Change.org petition ever worked, this is the one instance you can point to, along with the long and loud arguing of Harvey Weinstein, who quickly became the film’s champion, admitting he was doing so as a sort of redemption for people he may have bullied in the past.
There have been some other changes brought about by the ratings change, before, a film had to wait 90 days after its rating was officially changed, but the sense of urgency comes with the fact that the movie is already out, unrated, in a lot of areas, limiting the audience, so these changes will make it available to more audiences April 13th, next Friday, when the PG-13 rating takes effect, all without cutting a single frame of the film.