"Bully" Earns PG-13 Rating
“I feel completely vindicated,” said director Lee Hirsch in a public statement. “While I retain my belief that PG-13 has always been the appropriate rating for this film, as reinforced by Canada’s rating of PG, we have today scored a victory from the MPAA.”
The film focuses on the issue of bullying by telling the story of five kids over the course of a school year. It was originally given an R rating for language and has lost a previous appeal to have it lowered. Opponents to the original rating argued that it would discourage its target audience, teens, from seeing the film because an R rating requires those under 17 to watch it with a parent or legal guardian.
In late February, a 17-year-old Ann Arbor high school student, Katy Butler, started an online petition urging the MPAA to lower the film’s rating. Butler gathered more than 500,000 signatures and had the support of many celebrities, including daytime TV host Ellen DeGeneres and NFL quarterback Drew Brees.
The film made little edits to gain the PG-13 rating, only taking out three uses of the F-word. The controversial scene where teen Alex Libby is harassed and bullied on the bus has been left intact.
"The scene that mattered remains untouched and intact, which is a true sign that we have won this battle,” said Hirsch. “With an array of great partners, a fabulous educator's guide and extensive online tools, we can now bring this film unhindered, to youth and adults across our country."
Reach writer Audrey Noble here