The documentary "Bully" has not even hit the big screen yet, but it is already the subject of much excitement and controversy, earning an "R" rating for language. Katy Butler, however, feels that the "R" rating may prevent those who need the movie the most from being able to see it.
Butler is the driving force behind a new petition to change the rating from "R" to "PG." To date, the petition, found on Change.org, has collected over 230,000 signatures. The petition reads, in part, "I can't believe the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is blocking millions of teenagers from seeing a movie that could change- and in some cases, save- their lives."
"According to the film's website, over 13 million kids will be bullied this year alone," Butler writes. "Think of how many kids could benefit from seeing this film, especially if it is shown in schools."
The Huffington Post has reported that while Butler delivered the signatures to the MPAA, the group still refuses to lessen the "R" rating. "Even though we think this is a wonderful film and very worthwhile film for people to see, our main purpose is to give parents information on the level of content," Joan Graves of the MPAA told the Associated Press.
"[Butler] wants us to ignore the level of content because this is a good film, and we can't do that. We have to be consistent. We always pay attention to groups who are trying to give us information about how they feel. Our whole goal is to rate films the way the majority of American parents would rate them," Graves explained.
Butler has brought a lot of press to the movie, appearing on Ellen DeGeneres' show and even getting DeGeneres to publicly support the movie.
"I can tell you after seeing this movie, the lessons that the kids learn from this movie are more important than any words they might hear- and they're words they already know anyway," DeGeneres said.
British Columbia gave the film a "PG" rating, making it possible for teens to see the movie, which is Brady's goal for the United States. Alliance Films stated that the British Columbia rating "reinforces the movie's message that bullying must be urgently addressed with great care and consideration."
"Last night, I learned of the British Columbia board's decision to grant 'Bully' a 'PG' rating. I am thrilled that kids of all ages can now join their parents, teaches, social work advocates and leaders to bring about change for this deeply important cause," director Lee Hirsch said in a statement.
"Bully" opens in theaters on March 30.