"Bully" Documentary in Movie-Rating Controversy | NBC Southern California

"Bully" Documentary in Movie-Rating Controversy

Film about school bullying would have more reach if it wasn't rated "R," proponents said

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    Its backers say "Bully" is a movie that could do some good, but if school kids can't see it, that might not happen. Kim Baldonado talks with a former bullying victim who's trying to downgrade the film's R rating. (Published Tuesday, March 6, 2012)

    It's a documentary which tackles a serious and timely topic: "Bully" follows five kids who are being tormented by their peers.

    "For the kids who are being bullied, if they see the movie, they'll see we're not alone," said Katy Butler, a former bullying victim.

    Butler, a high school student, applauds the film's message. But she's on a crusade to get its R rating changed.

    "This is counterproductive," she said of the rating. "The intended audience is middle and high school students and they can't see it if the movie is rated R."

    Butler said she was bullied nearly daily when she came out as a lesbian in middle school and even contemplated suicide.

    "They called me names," she said. "I got pushed into lockers and walls. One day I ended up having my hand shut in a locker by a group of 8th grade boys, breaking my finger."

    In an effort to get the Bully movie rating changed to PG-13, Butler launched an online petition on Change.Org. In only eight days, more than 216,000 people have signed it.

    "This is absolutely incredible," she said about the campaign. "I love advocating for it, because it's such a personal issue."

    Butler has become a celebrity in the anti-bullying movement, meeting with Harvey Weinstein, the film's producer, and Ellen DeGeneres, who will talk about the film on her show Wednesday afternoon.

    The Motion Picture Association of America, which gave the film the R rating for its strong language, said in a statement, "Bullying is a serious issue and is an important subject that parents should discuss with their children."

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