The documentary “Bully” has been officially retagged PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America. This shift from its initial R rating for language occurred after a drawn-out battle of wills among the studio, the trade association responsible for the voluntary ratings system, and vocal advocates of antibullying initiatives.
A compromise version, which cuts the number of "F-bombs," will be in theaters beginning April 13, when the film goes into national distribution.The high power attorneys at the American Federation for Equal Rights were among those who helped forge a path to the change of ratings.
The Weinstein Company (TWC), aided by the guidance and consultation from attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, announced today that the MPAA has lowered the R rating, given for some language, for BULLY to a PG-13 in time for the film's April 13th expansion to 55 markets. The scene that has been at the forefront of the battle with the MPAA, the intense scene in the film that shows teen Alex Libby being bullied and harassed on a bus, has been left fully intact and unedited. BULLY director Lee Hirsch felt editing the scene was not an option, and subsequently refused to do so, since it is too important to the truth and integrity behind the film. Also a victory is the exception the MPAA made by allowing the film to be released with the new rating before 90 days, which is the length of time their policy states a film must wait to be in theaters after a rating change to avoid confusion or inconvenience for moviegoers.
Thanks to Joe My God for the heads up.This decision by the MPAA is a huge victory for the parents, educators, lawmakers, and most importantly, children, everywhere who have been fighting for months for the appropriate PG-13 rating without cutting some of the most sensitive moments. Three uses of the 'F word' were removed from other scenes, which ultimately persuaded the MPAA to lower the rating. Hirsch made the documentary with the intent to give an uncensored, real-life portrayal of what 13 million children suffer through every year.
23 March 2012: Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
30 March 2012, FollowUp 1.