The Bully documentary directed by Lee Hirsch is set to be released by the Weinstein company March 30. But the MPAA has given it an R rating for "some language," essentially banning the kids under 18, who are ostensibly its target audience, from seeing it--unless they are accompanied by an adult. Harvey Weinstein appealed the R rating, but the MPAA turned him down.
"TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein and one of the bullied children in the film, Alex Libby (pictured left), delivered statements to the MPAA's Classification and Rating Appeals Board today, arguing that an R rating would prevent Bully from reaching the adolescent audience that would most benefit from the movie. (The studio was planning on screening the documentary at various middle and high schools.) However, for an MPAA rating to be overturned, a two-thirds vote is required -- and Bully was one vote short.
"Following the decision, Weinstein released a statement saying that TWC is considering a leave of absence from the MPAA for the foreseeable future. 'We respect the MPAA and their process but feel this time it has just been a bridge too far,' said Weinstein. 'I have been through many of these appeals, but this one vote loss is a huge blow to me personally. Alex Libby gave an impassioned plea and eloquently defended the need for kids to be able to see this movie on their own, not with their parents, because that is the only way to truly make a change.'
It is a bit of irony that Harvey Weinstein is the one championing since he's known to be on the biggest bullies in Hollywood. But schoolyard bullying is, of course, different from bullying in the boardroom since, we hope, that by the time you've become an adult you actually have the means to defend yourself. We'll see how Weinstein ends up throwing his weight around--and this time for a good cause.