The Weinstein Company’s Bully is a documentary about bullying in American schools; something that has become a heated topic in the wake of the controversy of recent teen suicides. The MPAA recently gave the film an R-rating due to language. The studio appealed the rating, which Harvey Weinstein himself saying it deters the very demographic they are trying to reach. Now an online petition has been created to argue the very same thing.
The petition on Change.org was created by a high school student and has over 150,000 signatures in just a few days. The issue at hand is that an R-rating prevents the film from being shown at middle and high schools where it could make a big impact on the bullying epidemic. Below is the text of the petition.
Your decision, by one vote, to issue an “R” rating for the film “Bully” is wrong. It will prevent millions of teenagers from seeing a film that documents the epidemic of bullying in American schools.
This film has the potential to change the world and change the culture of violence in many schools. But your decision to give this movie an R means that the people who need to see this movie the most — teenagers who are either bullying their peers or suffering from violence and torment at the hands of bullies — won’t get to see this film. Nor will this film be allowed to be shown at middle schools and high schools in this country.
Please reconsider your decision to give Bully an R and give it a PG-13 instead.
While some have argued that the rating is warranted, the overall consensus that the vote is wrong, and I have to agree. Language is the only reason for the rating, but we hear bad language all the time on television and real life from an early age. PG-13 movies can get away with a lot of violence and even nudity, yet language is too much? This of course leads to the bigger issue of MPAA ratings being outdated and skewed inappropriately.
Weinstein has threatened to release the film unrated, but NATO has bitten back by saying they would then treat the film as NC-17. While an R rating only requires a guardian to accompany a minor, an NC-17 rating bans all minors even with a guardian. While stars like Johnny Depp and Lady Gaga have supported the campaign, some question Weinstein’s motives. Does he really care about the cause, or is just trying to drum up attention for his film?
What do you think? Is this simply a marketing ploy by Harvey Weinstein, or does he really want to help teach kids about bullying?