An all-star legal team is taking on the MPAA in an attempt to overturn the R rating assigned to the documentary Bully.
The film, directed by Lee Hirsch, shines a light on America's bullying crisis by following five of the 13 million American children affected by it each year.
Attorneys David Boies and Ted Olsen are were prompted to suggest a lawsuit against the MPAA after learning of the Change.org petition started three weeks ago by Katy Butler, a 17-year-old openly lesbian high school student. The campaign, which aims to drop Bully's rating to PG-13, has garnered the signatures of nearly 450,000 to date, and has drawn the support of celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep, Martha Stewart, Demi Lovato, Johnny Depp and Michael Jordan.
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The MPAA's rating was primarily based on a scene in which one bully describes what he will do to a victim, using variations of the F-word, according to the Los Angeles Times
. Films that use the expletive at least twice (or only once if used to describe sexual intercourse) almost always receive an R rating.
Of the MPAA's decision, Boies says, "How ridiculous and unfair and damaging it is to have a film of this power and importance that is being censored by a rating system that has got simply no rational basis."
"You can kill kids, you can maim them, you can torture them and still get a PG-13 rating, but if they say a couple of bad words you blame them. I hope, for heaven's sake, that they find some rational basis before we have to sue them to revise the rating system," he continued.
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Bully hits theaters in Los Angeles and New York on March 30, and will be released in more cities in April. (For what it's worth, the film has received a PG rating in Canada.)
See DeGeneres discuss the film on her show:
Watch a trailer for the film:
If you'd like to sign the petition, you can do so here.