Bully will no longer be bullied.
Following a celebrity-backed campaign and a petition signed by nearly 500,000 bullied students, the award-winning documentary Bully will be released on March 30 as an "unrated" film; MPAA initial stuck the movie with an R rating.
The documentary 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 suggested 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 aimed to drop Bully's rating to PG-13, has garnered the signatures of nearly 500,000 to date, and has drawn the support of celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep, Martha Stewart, Demi Lovato, Johnny Depp and Michael Jordan.
"I am happy Bully will maintain its authenticity and will be an accurate portrayal of what thousands of kids experience every day," Butler said. "The MPAA might not recognize the reality that thousands of bullied kids face each day in school, but nearly 500,000 people around the country, from celebrities to politicians to bullied kids themselves, stepped up to speak out about bullying by signing my petition."
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. Films that use the expletive at least twice (or only once if used to describe sexual intercourse) almost always receive an R rating.
"The brief use of explicit language in this film reflects what so many kids hear each day in school when they're being bullied," Butler continued. "The MPAA said they wouldn't drop the 'R' rating unless this language was removed, but nothing can remove it from the halls and playgrounds of schools where bullied students hear it each day, except education and exposure."
Will you see Bully?