'Bully' Won't Be Strong-Armed into R-Rating
By Joshua Gardner
A battle to get the ‘R’ rating of the new documentary Bully lowered to PG-13 has been raging since February, but the Motion Picture Association of America, which doles out the ratings, has thus far refused to budge.
So, when the film opens in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on March 30, it will have no rating at all.
This in protest of the MPAA’s unwillingness to lower the film’s rating despite a petition signed by 200,000, innumerable celebrity endorsements of the film, and the film’s honorable intention to help battle the problem of bullying in America’s schools.
“The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there because it’s real. It’s what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days,” director Lee Hirsch told Entertainment Weekly.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s premiere, Hirsch also said the MPAA’s decision is part of what he calls a “double standard of gratuitous violence getting through and a film that could actually do some good…getting slammed with this rating.”
The decision to drop the rating altogether was announced Monday by The Weinstein Co., one of the film’s distributors, over a month after the MPAA rejected the company’s official request to change the film’s rating.
David LaChapelle, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, and Justin Bieber are just a few of the many famous names added to the long list of those who support lowering the film’s rating.
The Weinstein Co. and Hirsch remain confident that continued celebrity and popular support will encourage the MPAA to change its mind and allow for the film’s wide release to be under a PG-13 rating.