“Bully” is getting a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America before the documentary expands to a wider market on April 13.
The documentary, which opened in late March in limited release, will be showing in 55 markets with the PG-13 rating after three minor edits.
In limited engagements, the film was shown unrated.
The PG-13 rating change follows a massive petition drive led on Change.org by Michigan teen Katy Butler, who had been bullied and wanted to guarantee that a younger audience could see the film, including, eventually, students in classrooms.
More than 500,000 people, including 35 members of Congress and celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Meryl Streep, endorsed the petition.
“On behalf of the more than half a million supporters who joined me on Change.org in petitioning the MPAA, I want to express how grateful I am not only to the MPAA for lowering the rating without cutting a vital scene but to all of the people who used their voices to put a national spotlight on this movie and its mission,” said Butler.
The MPAA had given “Bully” an R for the use of expletives, with the filmmakers explaining that bullying doesn’t involve pretty language.
Butler said, “The brief usage of language in this film reflects what so many kids hear each day in school when they’re being bullied. No one removes it from the halls and playgrounds of schools.”
Change.org CEO Ben Rattray said Katy Butler, who recently received an award for her work from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, “has inspired so many people, and a ratings change, with her powerful campaign.”
To see Ellen DeGeneres talk about the petition and the film, click the link.
Download a PDF of the current issue of Wisconsin Gazette and join our Facebook community.