‘Bully’ to play with­out rat­ing

Lan­guage that earned it an R won’t be deleted

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - BY SANDY CO­HEN

TLOS AN­GE­LES he We­in­stein Co. is mov­ing past the R rat­ing earned by its doc­u­men­tary “Bully” and plans to re­lease the film un­rated. The com­pany an­nounced Mon­day that “Bully” will hit the­aters March 30 with­out a rat­ing from the Mo­tion Picture As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica, mean­ing some the­aters may choose not to show it.

The MPAA gave the film an R rat­ing for lan­guage and de­clined to change it when the We­in­stein Co. ap­pealed. That in­spired teen ac­tivist Katy But­ler to start an on­line pe­ti­tion seek­ing a lower rat­ing so more young peo­ple could see the movie.

She has col­lected more than 475,000 sig­na­tures so far and even met with MPAA of­fi­cials ear­lier this month, but the group stood its ground, and “Bully” re­mained rated R, which re­quires chil­dren un­der 17 to be ac­com­pa­nied by a par­ent or guardian.

John Fithian, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Theatre Own­ers, told the We­in­stein Co. that re­leas­ing the film un­rated could re­sult in the­aters treat­ing the teen-fo­cused doc­u­men­tary as an NC-17 f ilm, which means no one 17 and younger can be ad­mit­ted.

Stephen Bruno, pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing for the We­in­stein Co, isn’t too con­cerned.

“We be­lieve the­ater own­ers ev­ery­where will step up and do what’s right for the ben­e­fit of all of the chil­dren out there who have been bul­lied or may have oth­er­wise be­come bul­lies them­selves,” Mr. Bruno said Mon­day, adding that the com­pany plans to make the film avail­able to teach­ers, par­ents and stu­dents na­tion­wide.

Film­maker Lee Hirsch said he de­clined to edit the doc­u­men­tary’s of­fen­sive lan­guage be­cause it would di­min­ish the painful re­al­ity of bul­ly­ing.

“The small amount of lan­guage in the film that’s re­spon­si­ble for the R rat­ing is there be­cause it’s real. It’s what the chil­dren who are vic­tims of bul­ly­ing face on most days,” Mr. Hirsch said.

He ex­pects many young peo­ple to see the film, “so it’s up to the the­aters to let them in.”

Katy But­ler said she’s pleased the film will main­tain its orig­i­nal con­tent.

“The MPAA said they wouldn’t drop the ‘R’ rat­ing un­less this lan­guage was re­moved,” she said. “But noth­ing can re­move it from the halls and play­grounds of schools where bul­lied stu­dents hear it each day, ex­cept ed­u­ca­tion and ex­po­sure.”

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